What are my rights as a voter with a disability in Texas?
In Texas, you have the right to the following items as protected by federal law and election staff must be trained to understand these rights:
- Accessible voter registration
- Accessible polling places
- Policies and procedures that do not discriminate against you based on your disability
- Accessible, available, and operational voting systems
- Accompaniment by your service animal inside your polling place
- Assistance from a person of your choice
In Texas, you also have the right to:
- Vote if you are registered in Texas
- Vote independently and privately
- Use an accessible voting machine (both on Election Day and during Early Voting).
- Assistance from a poll worker
- A voting process free from interference or coercion
- Alternative voting options, including curbside voting
- Register to vote at any state agency that provides disabled people assistance
- Register to vote even if you have a guardian, as long as your right to vote has not been revoked by a judge
- Request up to 3 ballots if you make a mistake
- Submit a complaint to your Secretary of State or election official
Who can register to vote?
U.S. citizens can vote if:
- You are at least 18 years old on Election Day,
- Have been a resident of the city or county for at least 30 days
- Do not claim the right to vote elsewhere
- Have not had your right to vote specifically removed by a court order, unless your right has been restored
- Are not currently incarcerated for a felony conviction. In Texas, if you are convicted of a felony you are eligible to vote after completing your full sentence, including probation or parole.
- If you are a student, homeless, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, or living with a mental or physical impairment, you can still vote.
What are the different ways to vote in Texas?
- In person on Election Day
- Absentee, with excuse
- Early voting
- Provisional ballot
- While abroad as a citizen or military
How is the Texas mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?
- You can receive assistance while filling out your absentee ballot application. Your assistant will need to print their name and address and sign their name on the carrier envelope.
- You may use a single application to request ballots by mail for all county elections in the calendar year.
- To vote by mail, you must provide ONE of the following numbers on your absentee ballot request: (1) Texas Driver’s License, Texas Personal Identification Number or Election Identification Certificate Number issued by the Texas Department of Public Safety (NOT your voter registration VUID number); OR (2) If you have not been issued one of the numbers above, the last 4 digits of your Social Security Number. If you have not been issued a Texas Driver’s License, Texas Personal Identification Number or Texas Election Identification Certificate Number or a Social Security Number, you must indicate so by checking the appropriate box on the absentee ballot request.
What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities at polling locations in Texas?
- An accessible voting machine should be available at every polling place.
- An exception is that there may not be an accessible voting machine in counties with less than 20,000 people for non-federal elections (state or local).
- All newly purchased voting systems are required to be accessible to voters with disabilities and provide a practical and effective means to cast a secret ballot.
- Accessible voting machines can accommodate no vision, low vision, no hearing, low hearing, limited manual dexterity, limited reach, limited strength, no mobility, low mobility, or any combination of the foregoing (except the combination of no hearing and no vision).
- Entrances and exits to polling places should be accessible using ramps, elevators, and paved sidewalks.
- Curbside voting will be available, which means a poll worker can bring a ballot to your car, and will place your completed ballot in the ballot box.
- If you are going alone to vote curbside, Texas advises that you contact your election officials before you come so that they know to expect you.
What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Texas?
- You may request assistance from a poll worker or receive assistance from a person of your choice with the following exceptions: your employer, an agent of your employer, an officer or agent of your union, or a candidate on the ballot.
- You can bring along an interpreter (including an ASL interpreter) to your polling place to help you. If you do not have an interpreter with you, and you need that type of assistance, you must contact your election officials to request assistance before Election Day.
- Someone assisting you can not attempt to influence your vote, fill out your ballot contrary to your wishes, or disclose who you voted for to anyone.
- A poll worker can not coerce you into accepting assistance.
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in Texas prior to Election Day?
- List of Texas voting systems by county
- Details and instructions on how to use Texas's voting systems.
Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in Texas?
- To file a formal complaint with the Texas Secretary of State, fill out this form.
- You can mail the form to Texas Secretary of State, Elections Division, c/o Legal Dept,. P.O. Box 12060 Austin, TX 78711, fax it to 512.475.2811, or email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- The Secretary of State will review your complaint and if they find the violation to be criminal, they may refer it to the Attorney General.
- You can also contact the Disability Rights Texas Voter Hotline at 1-888-796-VOTE (8683) or email@example.com. They can help you with your problem and give you advice about legal violations.
- The National Network of ADA Centers can provide local contact information for other organizations you may wish to contact, including your Regional ADA Center or ADA Knowledge Translation Center, or Federal Agencies and Resources.
State-specific Resources Guide for Voters With Disabilities
- Select a State -
- American Samoa
- Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands
- District of Columbia
- New Hampshire
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- North Carolina
- North Dakota
- Puerto Rico
- Rhode Island
- South Carolina
- South Dakota
- Virgin Islands
- West Virginia