Michiganders who are under guardianship, are differently abled, or have special needs have voting rights and choices.
MICHIGAN—This year’s general election is breaking records for voter turnout across the state. Close to 1 million Michiganders have already cast their ballots, according to a MLive report, with millions more expected to be received through Election Day.
Voting with a disability during a pandemic is no easy feat, but federal laws protect disabled citizens’ rights to the polls. This includes Michigan residents who are under guardianship and conservatorship.
Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson has been advocating for safe, accessible voting options for all Michigan residents.
“Voters have the right to vote at home or in person, and my office is working with clerks across the state to remove any barriers and ensure voting is an easy, enjoyable experience for everyone,” Benson said in a statement.
Here’s how disabled Michigan residents can vote safely and securely in the election:
Visually Impaired Voters
Visually impaired voters and those who have print disabilities are able to request an electronic absentee ballot online.
Print disabilities are those that “interfere with the effective reading, writing, or use of printed material”; people affected include the blind or visually impaired.
Physically Disabled Voters
Michigan voters have the right to an accessible polling place and an accessible voting machine when voting early at their local clerk’s office.
If it is before Election Day, ask your clerk for an assignment to an alternate site that is accessible. Voters may also report issues by calling the nonpartisan Election Protection hotline at 866-687-8683. Spanish speakers can dial 888-839-8682.
Voters who encounter difficulties accessing the polls on Election Day have the right to curbside voting. Send someone inside the polling place to alert election officials to your presence. A Michigan election inspector will bring a ballot to your car.
Learning Disabled Voters
Under the Powell v. Benson decision, Michigan voters with learning disabilities are afforded the same consideration as those with visual impairments.
The US Election Assistance Commission has additional information on rights, provisions, and protections for disabled voters. Click here for its list.