Electors with disabilities
Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
Electors with Disabilities
Q1. I use a wheelchair. In the past, I have found my polling place to be inaccessible for me. What can I do?
A1. State and federal laws require that every polling location be accessible. If you find that your polling location is not accessible, make your local election official aware of the issues. You may also file a complaint with the Colorado Secretary of State. Information about the HAVA Complaint Process is available on the Colorado Secretary of State’s website.
The county clerk for the county where you are registered is required to send you a voter information card at least 25 days before the General Election telling you the location of your polling place. If you did not receive your voter information card, or cannot find it, you may look up the polling place location information online at www.GoVoteColorado.com or call your county clerk's office. Additionally, many counties provide polling place information on their websites.
Q2. How will I receive my ballot?
A2. All voters now receive mail ballots. If you want to vote at the polls, you can surrender your mail ballot and vote in-person at a voter service and polling center. To be counted, mail ballots must be received by the county clerk's office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day. If you did not mail your ballot in enough time to meet the deadline, you must deliver it to your county clerk’s office by 7:00 p.m. on Election Day.
Q3. I use a walker and have great difficulty walking more than 200 feet without sitting down to rest. My polling place is in a building that has designated accessible parking and an accessible entrance. However, the actual polling place within the building is located a significant distance from the entrance closest to the parking lot. What can I do?
A3. You might consider informing your county clerk about this problem. They may be able to relocate the polling location within the building. If this isn't feasible, they may be able to place a chair or bench along the route so that you can rest.
Q4. I have a reading disability and have trouble reading and understanding what is printed on my ballot. I would like to be able to vote privately and without help, just like everyone else. What are my rights?
A4. The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and Colorado laws require that voters with disabilities be able to cast their vote privately and without assistance. Each county has purchased accessible voting machines to be used in every polling place election. These new voting machines use assistive and adaptive technology to provide the opportunity for voters with a wide range of disabilities to vote privately and independently.
Q5. Will new voting equipment allow me to change my vote choice(s) before I cast my vote?
A5. Yes. The federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires any new voting equipment to allow voters the opportunity to change their choices privately and independently before the ballot is cast and counted.
Q6. How would recounts be conducted with the new voting machines?
A6. The recount process will depend on the specifics of the voting machines used at the county level. The requirement will be met to verify the result in a close race, no matter what equipment is used.
Q7. I have a mental disability. Are there any restrictions on my right to vote in Colorado?
A7. No. Although some states restrict those with mental disabilities from voting, there are no restrictions on the right to vote under Colorado law related to disabilities.
Q8. I have a relative/friend currently confined in a mental institution. Will they be given a ballot to vote?
A8. Colorado statute specifies that individuals confined in a mental illness institution “shall not lose the right to vote because of the confinement.” C.R.S. 1-2-103. This means that as long as the individual confined otherwise qualifies to vote, they will be given a ballot. Colorado law requires mental illness institutions to help assist those confined to register to vote and obtain mail ballots.
Q9. I have a relative/friend who I do not believe can understand or cast a ballot. What can I do?
A9. In Colorado if an individual has the ability to direct how they would like to vote, and are otherwise registered to vote, then they must be allowed to do so, regardless of how others might view that individual’s state of mind. However, if the individual in question is unable to articulate his or her preference when voting, then others around them should not cast a vote for them. What matters is the voter’s intent- if it can be determined then the voter must be allowed to vote.
Q10. What can I do if I believe that my voting rights have been violated?
A10. You have the option of filing an election complaint directly with the Secretary of State’s office at 1700 Broadway Suite 200, Denver CO 80290. If you need assistance with completing and filing your complaint, you may contact The Legal Center for People with Disabilities and Older People VOTE! Program. The Legal Center is authorized and funded under HAVA and is available to assist you anytime you have questions regarding your voting rights. They are also available on Election Day to help you if you believe that your rights are being or have been violated. You can call their Denver Office at 1-800-288-1376 or 303-722-3619 (TTY) or their Grand Junction Office at 1-800-531-2105 (V/TTY). The Legal Center is prohibited from using their HAVA funding for litigation; however, they can assist you with filing a complaint with the Secretary of State or the US Department of Justice. The election complaint template can be found on the Secretary of State’s website in the Election Center under the Help America Vote Act link.