Voting is a fundamental right of all Americans, therefore, federal laws are in place to ensure everyone has the right to vote regardless of where they live. This means there are accommodations in place to help those living — or temporarily recovering — in assisted living or skilled nursing gain the access they need to vote.
Voting Options for Older Adults Who Need Assistance
You can vote in person on Election Day or by absentee ballot prior to Election Day. Many senior living or long-term care facilities will provide transportation to the polls on Election Day.
If voting by absentee ballot, you need to fill out and return an application and then the absentee ballot will be mailed to you. Find the Ohio absentee application and more information here.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is three days before the election in which you want to vote; however, you can submit an application at any time so don’t wait if you plan to go this route.
When returning by mail, absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted. Absentee ballots can also be returned in-person before the close of the polls on Election Day.
Requesting Assistance With Your Ballot
If you need assistance with your ballot because of a disability, you may bring someone with you to help you vote. You may ask anyone to help you vote unless they are on the ballot.
You also may ask for assistance from two precinct election officials from each of the major political parties. No one who helps you vote can tell you how you must vote or provide information to others about how you voted.
If you cannot make it to the polls, your county board of elections can deliver the ballot and provide assistance. Two election officials of different political parties must deliver the ballot and return it to the board of elections. Contact your local board of elections to receive details regarding this process.
Are the Polls Accessible for Those with Disabilities?
Voting locations must be free of barriers to enter and exit and must have ramps, wide doors and accessible parking for people with disabilities. If a location is exempt from accessibility requirements, curbside voting must be offered to those with disabilities. That means two election officials from each of the major political parties will bring a ballot to you.
Ohio also requires every polling location to have a voting machine that is accessible to individuals with disabilities. These machines include features like audio ballots, braille touch pads, large print, text-zoom features and height and tilt adjustments on the screens.
Make sure to tell poll workers if you require an accessible voting system.
Registering to Vote
If you need to register to vote or to update your voter registration address, you need to fill out a voter registration form. Registration must be submitted to the county board of elections at least 30 days before Election Day. The deadline to register for the November 5, 2019, General Election is October 7, 2019.