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Voting information for persons with developmental disabilities

Posted on September 21, 2020

Election Day 2020 is November 3 – only six weeks away. Deadlines to register to vote or request an absentee ballot or an accessible absentee ballot are coming even sooner. There is so much on the line this year, and voting is absolutely critical to ensure that Medicaid and programs like CDPA continue to exist and are available to everyone who needs it. Don’t miss out on the opportunity to help shape the future of healthcare access and vital long-term care services.

 

Make sure you are registered to vote, find your polling place, and check out the dates for important deadlines below, as well as information on how you can make sure your vote counts.

Make a plan to vote.

  • Voter registration deadline – October 9
    • The last day to register to vote in person or online is October 9, 2020.
    • Mail-in registrations must be postmarked on or before October 9, 2020.
    • Register to vote online here.
  • Absentee ballot request deadline – October 27
    • Absentee ballots must be requested on or before October 27, 2020.
    • Ballots sent by mail must be postmarked on or before November 3, 2020.
    • Ballots must be returned in person by 9 PM on November 3, 2020.
    • Request an absentee ballot here.
  • Accessible Absentee ballot request deadline – October 27
    • The form to request an accessible absentee ballot must be submitted on or before October 27, 2020.
    • Completed accessible ballots must be postmarked on or before November 3, 2020.
    • Completed accessible ballots must be returned in person by 9 PM on November 3, 2020.
    • Request an accessible ballot here.
  • Early voting – October 24 to November 1
    • Find the times and days for early voting in your county here.

Want to do more? Check out these online tools and resources from our partners at the New York Association on Independent Living to help organize and educate voters with disabilities.
The following information is provided by OPWDD:

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (also known as “The Motor Voter Act”) made it easier for all Americans, regardless of ability, to exercise their fundamental right to vote. The Motor Voter Act requires all offices of State-funded programs that are primarily engaged in providing services to persons with disabilities to provide all program applicants with voter registration forms and to assist in their completion and submission.

OPWDD is committed to ensuring that voting rights are upheld for the people we serve, and that every person is given the opportunity to register to vote. Every effort should be made to discuss with individuals their right to vote and to encourage and assist with any interest in doing so.

This year’s general election will be held: Tuesday, November 3, 2020.

In NYS, the deadline to register to vote is: Friday, October 9th, 2020, and it can be done online, in person or by mail.

Additionally, if registered to vote, mail-in ballots can be requested by Tuesday, October 27, 2020. Several early voting days will be available, beginning October 24th.

A safe way to vote must be discussed with every individual seeking to exercise this right.

Mental Hygiene Law 33.01 provides for equal provision of civil rights to persons with developmental disabilities and specifically includes the right to register for and to vote in elections “if in all other respects qualified and eligible.” New York State Election Law sets forth the qualifications for eligible voter participation. Section 5-106 prohibits those who have been convicted of a felony and those who “have been adjudged incompetent by order of a court of competent judicial authority” from voting. Interpretation, implementation and monitoring of eligibility criteria is left to the Local Boards of Elections and questions regarding specific individuals’ eligibility and registration statuses should be directed to the Local Boards of Election.

Counsel’s Office Bureau of Service Delivery may be contacted at (518) 474-7700 with additional questions.