Voters with Disabilities

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Polling Place and Voting Accessibility

Before each election, every registered voter is notified whether their polling place is accessible. This notification comes on the sample ballot mailed to each voter by their county elections official.

Elections officials are required, to the extent possible, ensure that polling places are accessible to voters with disabilities.

The Secretary of State's Polling Place Accessibility Guidelines (Guidelines) are designed to provide people with easy access to the federal and state requirements for accessible polling places. The Secretary of State, in partnership with the Department of Rehabilitation provides training to county elections officials to help them understand the Guidelines, learn techniques for surveying polling places using the Guidelines, and provide voters with accessible polling places.

To help county elections officials and polling place surveyors create accessible polling places, the Secretary of State's office produced the Polling Place Accessibility Surveyor Training Video. The training video provides a brief overview of polling place accessibility requirements and does not replace the Secretary of State's Polling Place Accessibility Guidelines.

The Secretary of State's "Disability Sensitivity at the Polls" is a helpful reference for poll workers at the polling place on Election Day.

The Secretary of State has approved several voting systems for use that allow voters with disabilities to cast their votes privately and independently. For a list of the equipment used in your county, visit our voting systems page.

Statewide Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee

The Secretary of State's Statewide Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC) is designed to advise, assist, and provide recommendations to the Secretary of State's office as to how voters with disabilities can vote independently and privately. The State's VAAC members have been influential in assisting with numerous projects, including the Polling Place Accessibility Guidelines. They have helped raise awareness of disability issues through their involvement in the development of the Voter Accessibility Survey and production of the Polling Place Accessibility Surveyor Training Video. Contact information for current State VAAC members is available on the VAAC Roster. The VAAC Meeting Schedule for 2014 can be viewed online.

For more information about the VAAC, please contact the Secretary of State's Elections Division at (916) 657-2166, or by email.

Some county elections officials have established local voting accessibility advisory committees to advise and assist on local election issues. If you are interested in creating or joining a local voting accessibility advisory committee in your county, contact your local county elections official. You may also reference the Secretary of State's Guide to Creating Local Voting Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC). This guide advises county elections officials on how to create and maintain an effective local VAAC. 

Election Resources in Alternate Formats

The Secretary of State has a Voting in California page, plus election-related materials and voter hotline assistance, available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese. In addition, many services are available to voters who may need special assistance. You can learn about many of them by watching our video, Guide to Voting in California, in American Sign Language (English and Spanish):

You may apply to register to vote by completing a Voter Registration Application online. If you are using a screen reader to register to vote, please ensure that your browser and operating system are configured to play audio files in the .wav file format. Or, you may call (800) 345-VOTE (8683) to request a form be mailed to you.

The Voter Information Guide is published by the Secretary of State prior to each statewide election. The Voter Information Guide contains useful voter information for statewide candidates and measures. Each measure in the guide is accompanied by an impartial analysis of the proposal and the potential costs to taxpayers as prepared by the Legislative Analyst's Office, arguments in favor of and against it prepared by proponents and opponents, a summary prepared by the Attorney General or the Legislature, and the full text of the proposed law, as well as other information. The Secretary of State provides the Voter Information Guide in a downloadable audio format at approximately 29 days before the election. Please complete our online order form if you would like to order the CD or audio cassette version of the Voter Information Guide, or you may call (800) 345-VOTE (8683) to request a copy.

Voter Accessibility Survey

For each election, the Secretary of State asks voters with disabilities to participate in a brief and private survey. Survey results help identify whether there is a need for more training, modified services, or enhanced outreach programs for voters with disabilities.

June 7, 2016, Presidential Primary Election Accessibility Survey