Unique Election Day Options Available For Disabled NJ Voters
New Jersey has a goal each election cycle to make voting by disabled residents as easy as voting by anybody else.
Garden State officials want to make residents aware of the accessible options that are available for individuals with disabilities, both on Election Day and leading up to Nov. 7.
Accommodations for disabled in-person voters
Disabled New Jersey voters have the same in-person polling places as everyone else — you can find yours using this link. But on site, there are accommodations for those who may not be able to cast their vote without some help.
Assistance includes special equipment that enables individuals to see the screen easier, or to hear an audio version of what's on the ballot.
A voter who requires assistance at a polling location may also designate a person of their choosing to guide them along the way.
"Or they can have two board workers, who are not members of the same political party, to assist," said Lt. Gov. Tahesha Way, who also serves as Secretary of State and oversees the Division of Elections.
These options are available on Election Day and during the in-person early voting period, which begins on Saturday and runs through Nov. 5.
At-home voting for disabled voters
Like any other registered voter, disabled individuals have the option to vote by mail and postmark their ballot by Nov. 7. To get the ballot sent to a home, a request must be made to one's county clerk by Oct. 31. Otherwise, it can be picked up at the clerk's office by 3 p.m. the day before Election Day.
An additional vote-at-home method is available for folks who can't fill out a paper ballot without assistance. One's county clerk's office must be contacted in order to get an "accessible vote by mail" ballot.
Following a request, the voter would receive a secure website link to a ballot that's personalized with the races in their area, that they can mark using their own assistive technology devices. The individual would also have to be able to print the ballot once it's completed.
At the same time, the clerk would mail the disabled voter all of the materials that are needed to return the ballot by Election Day — this can happen via mail, drop box, or in person.
A voter who goes this route and is unable to sign a document certifying their vote is allowed to get someone else to do it for them, but that requires a "Certificate of Assistor Signing for a Voter with a Disability" form from the county clerk's office.
"Disabled voters in New Jersey need to know that they have options to cast their ballot privately and securely," Way said. "We appreciate the opportunity to make New Jersey elections inclusive and accessible."
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