Virginia Resources for Voters with Disabilities

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

In Virginia, 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 Virginia, you also have the right to:  

  • Vote absentee or in-person if you are registered and otherwise legally qualified to vote
  • Vote absentee in Virginia if you are a U.S. citizen overseas and your last residence in the U.S. was in Virginia, or you are a Virginia resident away in the military (or their qualifying spouse or dependent)
  • Vote if you are in line by the close of polls. Polls close at 7:00 pm on Election Day
  • Be treated with courtesy and respect by election officials
  • Receive help from your own assistant or an election officer if you need help to read, complete forms, or to vote
  • Bring your child (age 15 or younger) into the voting booth
  • Have a ballot brought to your vehicle instead of entering the polling place or early voting location if you are 65 years of age or older -- or have a disability
  • Request to receive your absentee ballot electronically to mark your ballot using an electronic ballot-marking tool, if you are print disabled
  • Use an accessible voting machine when voting in person at your polling place or early voting site, if you have a disability and prefer that option
  • Write in the full name of a candidate if the candidate of your choice is not listed on the ballot (except in party primaries)
  • Ask for a new ballot if you want to change your vote before you cast it
  • Vote a regular ballot if you arrive at your polling place without acceptable ID, but sign an ID Confirmation Statement affirming your identity
  • If you registered to vote by mail without sending an acceptable form of ID, you must use a provisional ballot in your first federal election and can not use an ID Confirmation Statement
  • Vote a provisional ballot if your name does not appear on the voter list and you believe it should, or you forgot to bring an acceptable ID and refuse to sign an ID Confirmation Statement
  • Be present when the Electoral Board meets to determine if your provisional ballot will be counted
Who can register to vote?

To register in Virginia, 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 living in the precinct of registration (who is not a temporary resident)

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. Your local voter registration office can accommodate special needs.

In Virginia, you may not register or vote if:

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 Virginia?
  • Early Voting, including curbside voting
  • In person on Election Day, including curbside voting
  • Regular Absentee by mail or email 
  • Emergency Absentee
  • While abroad as a citizen or military through an absentee ballot request
  • Provisional ballot at a polling place
  • You can vote using an absentee ballot
What are the ways to request an Absentee Ballot in Virginia?

Any voter may request a regular absentee ballot in Virginia to vote by mail. You do not need an excuse. You may return your application by mail, fax, or by email attachment. 

You may also apply for an emergency absentee ballot if you meet these conditions:

  • You were unable to apply for an absentee ballot by the deadline due to your hospitalization or illness, or the hospitalization, illness, or death of a spouse, child, or parent, or other emergency found to justify receipt of an emergency absentee ballot; or
  • You will be unable to vote on Election Day due to your hospitalization or illness, the hospitalization, illness or death of a spouse, child, or parent, or other emergency found to justify receipt of an emergency absentee ballot that occurred after the deadline for applying for an absentee ballot.
How is the Virginia mail-in or absentee ballot process made accessible for voters with print disabilities?

If you have a print disability, you can request an absentee ballot electronically that will be delivered by email. 

You can use screen reader assistance to mark this ballot using the electronic ballot-marking tool

If you are interested in using this service to vote absentee, select the “print disabled” option in your absentee ballot application.

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

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

Accessible parking spaces and curbside voting is available.

Individuals may receive personal help at the polls by bringing someone to assist them or an elections officer.

On Election Day, there will be at least one voting machine at every polling place that is accessible for disabled people to use.

Notepads will be provided to communicate in writing. 

Magnifiers are available for election material and the ballot.

What are the rules of assistance for disabled voters in Virginia?
  • If you have physical disability or cannot read or write, 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.
  • Your assistant will follow your directions and if you are blind, you are not required to mark your ballot.
  • Your assistant should not influence your vote.
  • If you are disabled or above 64, or you can vote from a vehicle. 
    • There will be a designated parking space at the polling location with signs listing instructions. 
    • You can have someone enter the polling place to ask an election worker for curbside assistance.  
    • You can also call your election officer ahead of time for curbside voting.
How can I prepare to use accessible voting equipment in Virginia prior to Election Day?

You should be able to access a sample ballot as well as preview and practice using accessible voting equipment. Contact your local election official for assistance.

Who do I contact if I have problems when voting in Virginia?
  • While you are at the polling place, you can ask an election worker to contact the Voter Registrar who might be able to help immediately.
    • If this does not work, you can call the Department of Elections at (800) 552-9745 before polls close.
       
  • For complaints with voting application:
    • You can appeal to your local circuit court within 10 days of the denial. 
    • A $10 court fee is required.
       
  • For complaints with voting process:
    • You can submit an informal complaint form
    • You can also submit a formal complaint form (also available in Spanish)
      • It must be filed within 10 days.
      • You must get the complaint form notarized.
      • Mail the form to: 
             Deputy Commissioner
             Virginia Department of Elections
             Washington Building, First Floor
             1100 Bank Street
             Richmond, VA 23219
         
  • Contact your local voter registration office or electoral board: elections.virginia.gov/LocalGR
     
  • Contact the Accessibility Coordinator at the Department of Elections by email: info@elections.virginia.gov orTelephone: (800) 552-9745 or TTY 711
     
  • For legal assistance, contact the Virginia Lawyer Referral Service.
     
  • 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.