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Voting In Person With A Disability

Voting in Person

When You Have a Disability

Voting In Person: Plan Ahead

For a host of reasons, voting absentee isn't feasible for all of us. Be it missed absentee deadlines, personal reasons, or simply tradition - voting in person is still happening across Tennessee. If heading to your poll location is your plan, put a plan together to do it safely and in comliance with state law.

Bring Your Identification

The Tennessee State Legislature passed a law that requires every Tennessean to present a federal or Tennessee state government-issued photo ID to vote.

Any of the following IDs may be used, even if expired:

  • Tennessee driver license with your photo
  • United States Passport
  • Photo ID issued by the Tennessee Department of Safety and Homeland Security
  • Photo ID issued by the federal or Tennessee state government
  • United States Military photo ID
  • Tennessee handgun carry permit with your photo
  • College student IDs and photo IDs not issued by the federal or Tennessee state government are not acceptable. 

Check you polling location

What's the level of protection that will be in place at your assigned polling station?

Try to find out some things in advance, such as:

  • If you'll be spending the majority of your wait standing outside
  • If masks are required of both voters and poll workers
  • If 6-feet spacing markers will be visible on floors to control social distancing
  • If there is a separate entrance and exit from the voting area
  • If there will be a Plexiglas barrier between the voter and the poll worker
  • If poll workers will be wearing face shields, surgical face masks and gloves
  • If there will be adequate space between voting privacy booths 
  • If poll workers will sanitize frequently touched surfaces, such as door handles, voting booths and bathrooms regularly

Tip: Do not vote in person if you have to cast your ballot in a high-risk facilty, such a senior care facility.


Don't Vote During Peak Times

  • Even with many of us working from home, the polls will still see increased footraffic at peak times like before or after work, or at lunch time.
  • Instead, aim for mid-morning, or early to mid-afternoon. This isn't only safer, but likely a lot quicker as you may encouter shorter lines.
  • Stay in touch with local friends on social media. Neighborhood Facebook pages and sites like Nextdoor often have users posting updes about crowd sizes throughout the day and can be used to plan your trip.

Personal Protection

  • Maintain 6' feet of distance between yourself and other people.
  • Studies have shown masks with two or three layers of cotton fabric have better protection than a bandanna or other single-ply fabric. 
  • Even if your mouth is covered by the mask, it is not safe to stand in line with your nose exposed. Most of us do not breathe through our nose, and not covering renders the mask useless. Moreover, the virus is most likely to enter your body breathing through the nose so please ensure it's covered.
  • Per the CDC, bring tissues and hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol or disinfecting wipes

Take Your Rights With You

Here's our TDC quick guide to knowing your voting rights, and bringing them to the polls should you decide to vote in person. We've also included a link to a wallet-sized PDF from our friends at Easterseals. It includes resources to contact should you have issues with your polling location. 


What if my rights as a voter with a disability are being violated?

If you experience any problems accessing the polls on election day contact:


Deaf and Hard of Hearing

  • National Association of the Deaf – ASL Voter Hotline
  • SignVote, a Deaf and Hard of Hearing community-based Voter GOTV mobilization effort.

Blind and Low Vision

Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities

Mobility

For more information on the Voting Rights Act (VRA), Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act (VAEHA), National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), and Help America Vote Act (HAVA) please visit the Department of Justice's Voting Section website: www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/