Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act

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The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act, P.L. 98-435, 42 U.S.C. §§ 1973ee1973ee-6, was passed to promote the fundamental right to vote by improving access for handicapped and elderly individuals to registration facilities and polling places for Federal elections by requiring access to polling places used in Federal elections and available registration and voting aids, such as instructions in large type

Purpose

The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 (VAEHA) also known as PUBLIC LAW 98-435 (98th Congress) required that all polling facilities must be accessibly to all individuals with disabilities. The act states that if “no accessible location is available to serve as a polling place; voters must provide an alternate means of voting on Election Day”[1] The Attorney General of the United States is charged with the responsibility of enforcing the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act. Congress enacted the law in 1984 to help improve voting accessibility to all handicapped and elderly registered voters encompassing all federal funded locations.[2]

Voting Act Terminology:

Elderly: 65 years or older

Handicapped: temporary or permanent disability

Registration and Voting Aids

Each state must provide accessibility to registration and voting aids for disabled persons. The ballots will be printed in large print font for all person with disabilities. The law requires that all disabled and elderly voters must have access to aids including telecommunication devices for the deaf (TDD) to accommodate the voting process.[3] A medical certification or doctor documentation is not required for the casting of an absentee ballot due to disability factors.[4] The chief officer of each state will provide ample notice and detailed information to those experiencing disabilities concerning the availability of specific aids needed on election day. In 2015, an amendment was added to this particular act stating that a polling official “may allow a voter who is physically disabled or over the age of 70 to move to the front of the line at polling place upon request of the voter”.[5]

Selection of Polling Facilities:

Section 42 USC 1973ee-1[6] Each state is responsible for adhering to the guidelines laid out for physical accessibility for those experiencing any type of disability. The act ensures that disable patrons assigned to a facility without accessibility would be automatically provided with an alternative location for the ballot casting purposes on the day of the election. Each state will provide amble notice on the dispersion of documentation in a timely manner. The chief official of each state will determine each potential polling location. The location itself will be surveyed beforehand. If no such accessible place is available that particular political location must provide temporarily accessibility to that specific personnel. This act ensures that all handicapped or elderly voter must be assigned to a place of accessibly or be provided with an alternative method for casting the necessary ballot. The assignment report from each state must be completed by "no later than December 31 of each even-numbered year, the chief election officer of each state shall report to the Federal Election Commission"[7] to determine both the accessibility and inaccessibility of polling places. This information must be submitted and reported to Congress by April 30 of each odd-numbered years.[8]

If a polling place is deemed unsuitable, The Americans with Disabilities Act will provide a checklist detailing all areas of improvements that needs to be made within all federal facilities.[9] In addition, The Justice Department will provide a list of possible solutions to detailing the problems concerning accessibility within polling facilities.[10]

Selection of Registration Facilities:

Section 4 of "every state or political subdivision responsible for registration for federal elections shall provide a reasonable number of accessible permanent registration facilities" [11]This does not apply to any state that already provides amble opportunities for potential or registered voters within federal regulated facilities.

Enforcement: (including violations)

Any individuals that believes that a state election officials might have violated the Voting Accessibility Act can bring this information to the attention of the federal district court. Therefore would be given an appropriate notification of time concerning the severity of violation itself. Section 6 of the 42 USC 1973 ee-4 states that “an action may be brought under this section only if the plaintiff notices the chief election officer of the state of the non compliance and a period of 45 days has elapsed since the date of notification.”[12] "Notwithstanding any other provision of the law, no award if attorney fees may be made with respect to an action under this section, expect in any action brought to enforce the original judgement of the court".[13]

References

  1. ^ "Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)", SpringerReference, Springer-Verlag, retrieved 2018-07-31 
  2. ^ "Election Administration and Voting Survey, 2008 [United States]". ICPSR Data Holdings. 2011-07-14. Retrieved 2018-07-31. 
  3. ^ "Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)", SpringerReference, Springer-Verlag, retrieved 2018-07-31 
  4. ^ United States. (1994). Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act--Public Law 98-435: oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session ... September 13, 1994, Washington, DC. Washington: U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office. ISBN 0160459524. 
  5. ^ "Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act". Disability Rights and Resources. 2012-02-21. Retrieved 2018-07-31. 
  6. ^ United States. (1994). Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act--Public Law 98-435: oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session ... September 13, 1994, Washington, DC. Washington: U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office. ISBN 0160459524. 
  7. ^ United States. (1994). Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act--Public Law 98-435: oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session ... September 13, 1994, Washington, DC. Washington: U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office. ISBN 0160459524. 
  8. ^ United States. (1994). Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act--Public Law 98-435: oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session ... September 13, 1994, Washington, DC. Washington: U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office. ISBN 0160459524. 
  9. ^ "ADA Checklist for Polling Places". www.ada.gov. Retrieved 2018-07-31. 
  10. ^ "The Americans with Disabilities Act and Other Federal Laws Protecting the Rights of Voters with Disabilities". www.ada.gov. Retrieved 2018-07-31. 
  11. ^ United States. (1994). Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act--Public Law 98-435: oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session ... September 13, 1994, Washington, DC. Washington: U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office. ISBN 0160459524. 
  12. ^ United States. (1994). Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act--Public Law 98-435: oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session ... September 13, 1994, Washington, DC. Washington: U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office. ISBN 0160459524. 
  13. ^ United States. (1994). Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act--Public Law 98-435: oversight hearing before the Subcommittee on Elections of the Committee on House Administration, House of Representatives, One Hundred Third Congress, second session ... September 13, 1994, Washington, DC. Washington: U.S. G.P.O. : For sale by the U.S. G.P.O., Supt. of Docs., Congressional Sales Office. ISBN 0160459524. 

Future Reference

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) provides assistance at the public and state level for all registered voters with disabilities. The Help America Vote Act of 2002 outlines that all federal funded elections must provide at least one form of accessibility voting for all persons with disabilities.

Website External links

  • The Americans with Disabilities Act and Other Federal Law Protecting the Rights of Voters with Disabilities- https://www.ada.gov/ada_voting/ada_voting_ta.htm
  • H.R. 1250 (98th): Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act- https://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/98/hr1250
  • Chapter 201- Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped- http://uscode.house.gov/view.xhtml?path=/[email protected]/subtitle2/chapter201&edition=prelim

Journal Publications

  • LaFratta, B. K., & Lake, J. (2001). Inside the Voting Booth: Ensuring the Intent of the Elderly Voter. Elder LJ, 9, 141.- https://heinonline.org/HOL/Page?handle=hein.journals/elder9&div=11&g_sent=1&casa_token=
  • Pfeiffer, D. (1993). Overview of the disability movement: History, legislative record, and political implications. Policy Studies Journal, 21(4), 724-734.
  • Schriner, K., & Batavia, A. I. (2001). The Americans With Disabilities Act: Does it secure the fundamental right to vote?. Policy Studies Journal, 29(4), 663-673.
  • Weicker Jr, L. P. (1991). Historical background of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Temp. LR, 64, 387.
  • Weis, C. J. (2004). Why the Help America Vote Act fails to help disabled Americans vote. NYUJ Legis. & Pub. Pol'y, 8, 421.
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