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Disabled voters have options at Pennsylvania polling places

Noel Miller
York Dispatch
At the York Princess Center polling place in York, Pa on Tuesday, May 17, 2022.

There are several options available to Pennsylvania voters with disabilities to participate in the upcoming general election. 

All polling places in Pennsylvania are required to have at least one accessible voting system, according to the Department of State website. In some cases this may be the general systems all voters at the poll are using. 

In York County, all polling places are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and use electronic voting machines, York County election officials said. The machines have headphone jacks to plug in assistive hearing technology as well. 

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Forms of accessible voting listed on the state website include: 

  • The right to bring a person of the voter's choice to assist them at the poll. The first time a voter brings an assistant they will fill out and sign a form called "declaration of need of assistance," which will then be added to the voter's registration record. 
  • If a disability prevents a voter from registering or voting in person they may designate an "agent" to deliver the registration or ballot for them. 
  • Those with permanent disabilities may apply to be added to a permanent absentee voter list. When added, they will receive an absentee ballot for all other elections in the year, and they will be sent a permanent absentee application to fill out and resubmit each year. 
  • Alternative ballots, paper ballots mailed to a voter's home, can be used if a polling place is not accessible or if a voter is 65 years of age or older or has a disability. 

Applications for an alternative ballot must be returned to the county election office by 5 p.m. the Tuesday before an election, which this fall will be Nov. 1. Applications for an emergency alternative ballot must be received by the elections office by 8 p.m. on Election Day, Nov. 8.

For more information, go to www.vote.pa.gov/Voting-in-PA/Pages/Accessible-Voting.aspx.

— Reach Noel Miller at NMiller3@yorkdispatch.com or via Twitter at @TheNoelM. 

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