Commonwealth Journal

November 3, 2011

Helping the Disabled to Vote


Commonwealth Journal

Somerset — Dear Editor:

People with disabilities have the right, like other registered voters, to cast their ballots at polling places that are accessible to them. This includes, but is not limited to, people physically accessing their polling places in order to vote independently and privately.

You may have been notified that your polling place has been moved or noticed some changes when you vote in the May Primary. These changes have happened for Kentucky to be in compliance with federal laws regarding voter access. The Commonwealth, like all other states, is required by several federal laws, including the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Help America Vote Act, to making voting fully accessible to all voters, regardless of disability.

We, as advocates, have heard from people with disabilities over the years who have used absentee ballots to vote because they were unable to enter their polling places due to physical barriers. Use of absentee ballots should no longer be a necessity.

The Secretary of State, the State Board of Elections, county clerks, the Kentucky Disabilities Coalition, and other disability rights advocates have been working hard to ensure that polling places are physically accessible and have at least one accessible voting machine. Kentuckians with disabilities can vote independently and privately. No longer are individuals with disabilities prevented from casting their votes in voting booths like other registered voters.

If you are an individual with a disability who experiences problems with accessibility on Election Day, call your county clerk for help. You may also contact the State Board of Elections (1-800-246-1399), Protection and Advocacy (1-800-372-2988) or the Kentucky Office of Americans with Disabilities Act (1-877-423-2933).



Sincerely,

Marsha Hockensmith

Executive Director

Protection & Advocacy

100 Fair Oaks Lane, 3rd Floor

Frankfort, KY 40601



Norb Ryan

Kentucky ADA Coordinator

Kentucky Office of the

Americans with Disabilities Act

500 Mero St., 2nd Floor

Frankfort, KY 40601