(See the links at end of article.) In this election year affected by the pandemic, disabled Texans have a number of easy and safe options to cast their votes: curbside voting, requesting assistants to help, going to front of the line, and emergency late voting where they appoint a representative to take in their registration and return with a ballot, in addition to voting by mail. The options were outlined by Christina Adkins of the Texas Secretary of State’s office in a webinar on Thursday called “Voting Accommodations in Texas – The Laws and the Options!” The panel was moderated by Grace Chimene, President of the League of Women Voters of Texas.
Voting by mail is a hot topic now, and the participants urged turning in their applications as soon as possible. This allows time to work through any kind of follow-ups or difficulties that need to be addressed. Among the ways to qualify are being away from your home county, being sick or disabled, or being incarcerated. Can you claim fears of COVID-19 infection as a reason? If you have a pre-existing condition or are otherwise at-risk, yes.
Jeffery Miller of the Disability Rights Texas said that you are the best judge. If you feel you are disabled, then mark it so on the vote-by-mail application. He recommended trying to keep your signature consistent between documents. If you have questions or problems, contact your county elections office.
Adkins said you must follow up your online application with a signed copy within five days. Also you will eventually receive a receipt after you apply. If the receipt does not come, or if you have any other questions, contact your county elections office.
She said that election sites will have health protections like PPE. She said be sure to wear a mask.
Check your county’s website first. Vote early, they said. Those with questions may contact the Secretary of State’s office or Disabled Rights Texas at the end of this article.
“There is an army of support out there” to help you vote, Adkins said. She said to be prepared: “have a plan” to vote.
This July 13-17 will be National Disability Voter Registration Week, to raise awareness of these issues.
The message emphasized by all three was to be your own advocate, to speak up – ask!
Voters with disabilities – https://my.lwv.org/texas/voters-disabilities-0
Disabilities Rights Texas – https://www.disabilityrightstx.org/en/home/
Voting Resources for people with disabilities – https://www.disabilityrightstx.org/en/category/voting/
Texas Secretary of State – votetexas.org
Voters with Special Needs – https://www.votetexas.gov/voters-with-special-needs/
Health Protocols For Texas Election Officials And Voters – https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/forms/health-protocols-for-voters.pdf
COVID-19 (Coronavirus) Voting and Election Procedures – https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/laws/advisory2020-14.shtml
League of Women Voters of Texas
How to be a Texas voter! – https://my.lwv.org/texas/how-be-texas-voter
What is on the ballot? – https://my.lwv.org/texas/voting-elections/what-ballot
For any concerns or problems voting contact texasvoterprotection.org
Please submit any questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org