Vermont Resources for Voters with Disabilities

What are my rights as a voter with a disability in Vermont?

In Vermont, you have the right to the following as protected by federal law. Election staff must respect 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, features
  • Your service animal to accompany you inside the polling place
  • The right to vote privately and independently or with assistance, if needed
  • Assistance from a person of choice, who can be a friend, family member, or poll worker (but not your boss, union agent, or a candidate unless this person is your family member)
  • Election Staff trained to understand the rights above.

In Vermont, you also have the right to:  

  • Independently mark and cast your ballot without interference, coercion, or intimidation. 
  • Vote in privacy and cast a secret ballot.
  • Receive assistance when voting.
  • Review a sample ballot before voting. 
  • Ask for reasonable accommodations by contacting your town clerk. A reasonable accommodation can include: 
    • ramps to allow wheelchair access to the polling place or 
    • an ASL interpreter to help deaf or hard-of-hearing voters.
       
  • File a complaint about voting accessibility or other violation.
Who can register to vote?

To register in Vermont, you must be

  • A citizen of the United States of America
  • At least 17 and will be turning 18 on or before Election Day 
  • A state resident 
  • Able to take, or have taken, the voter’s oath

If you are a student, unhoused, a survivor of intimate partner violence with related concerns, or living with a mental or physical impairment, you may still register and vote

You are able to vote even while incarcerated for a felony conviction.

What are my rights when registering to vote?

Federal law requires assistance in registering to vote from offices that provide public assistance or state-funded programs serving people with disabilities. Responsibilities include:

  • Providing voter registration forms
  • Assisting voters in completing the forms
  • Transmitting completed forms to the appropriate election official
  • All aspects of voter registration must be accessible
What are the different ways to vote in Vermont?
  • Early Voting, including curbside
  • In person on Election Day, including curbside
  • Absentee 
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
  • Provisional ballot at a polling place
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Vermont?

All active, registered voters in Vermont will automatically receive a ballot by mail.  If you want to receive a ballot by mail to an address other than the one you are registered to vote at, you must submit an application for a mail-in ballot.

How is the Vermont mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

You can request an online absentee ballot on your My Voter page.

You can use assistive technologies including screen readers to help you make your selection. The online absentee ballot is compatible with Windows and Mac iOS screen readers.

You will print your ballot and certificate. You will place the ballot in an envelope and glue/tape the certificate to the outside of the envelope. You will then mail your ballot to your town clerk. You can also drop it off in-person.

You can view a sample ballot on the online absentee ballot portal to practice using the accessible voting system.

What accommodations are available for voters with disabilities at polling locations in Vermont?

Federal law requires polling places to meet minimum compliance standards for individuals with special needs. 

Every polling place will have an accessible voting machine. When you check in just ask to use the accessible voting machine. You may also ask an election official to bring a ballot out to your vehicle for curbside voting. There may be parking spaces reserved for curbside voting.

You can bring a magnifying glass or a list of candidates if that will help you in the voting process.

You can ask for up to two more additional ballots if you make a mistake.

Contact your town clerk to request additional accommodations.

What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Vermont?
  • 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
    • a candidate on the ballot
       
  • A poll worker cannot force you to accept assistance.
     
  • If you are sick or have a disability, a ballot can be delivered to your home on Election Day. 
    • You may request an absentee ballot up until 5 p.m. on the day before the election. 
    • Two justices of the peace (of different parties when possible) will deliver a ballot to you, and then will bring the ballot back to the polling place so that it can be placed in the ballot box and counted.
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in Vermont prior to Election Day?

All polling places in Vermont use the accessible voting machine OmniBallot Tablet.

Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in Vermont?
  • You can mail a formal complaint to:
    The Secretary of State 
    26 Terrace Street, Drawer 9 
    Montpelier, VT 05609-1101
     
    • You must get the complaint notarized, and you must sign and swear to the complaint.
    • You must include your name, phone number, and mailing address.
    • In the complaint, you should detail the nature and facts of what went wrong. You can request a hearing.
    • You must also send a copy of your complaint to any election official you are writing a complaint about.
    • You must submit the complaint within 60 days of the certification of the federal election.
    • The Secretary of State will either dismiss your complaint if it does not allege an act of disability discrimination in regard to elections, or they will resolve your complaint with appropriate remedies. 
      • Your complaint will be resolved within 90 days of the Secretary of State receiving the complaint. 
      • If 90 days expires without a resolution, and you do not grant an extension, your complaint will be referred to Alternate Dispute Resolution. 
    • You can appeal the decision to the Superior Court in the county where you live.
       
  • You can reach out to Disability Rights Vermont at 1-800-834-7890 
     
  • You can also fill out a Violation of Civil Rights Complaint Form and submit it to the US Department of Justice by one of the following methods:
    • Online, through the form’s submission process - this is the fastest method.
    • By fax at (202) 616-9881. You MUST include “ATTN: Civil Rights and Civil Liberties Complaints" at the top of your fax submission for it to be processed correctly.
    • By mailing your form to: 
      U.S. Department of Justice
      Office of the Inspector General
      Investigations Division
      ATTN: Civil Rights & Civil Liberties Complaints
      950 Pennsylvania Ave., NW
      Washington, DC 20530
       
  • For additional assistance, 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.