The Right of People with Disabilities to Exercise Their Right to Vote Under the Help America Vote Act (HAVA)
30 Mental & Physical Disability L. Rep. 852, 2006
11 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2012
Date Written: 2006
As the U.S. Supreme Court wrote in 1964 in Wesberry v. Sanders, “No right is more precious in a free country than that of having a voice in the election of those who make laws under which, as good citizens, we must live. Other rights, even the most basic, are illusory if the right to vote is undermined.” However, for many people with disabilities, the right to vote has remained illusory. People with mobility impairments have been prevented from gaining access to polling places; people who are blind have been unable to complete most types of ballots (if they were able to register in the first place); and for people who remain in nursing homes, institutions, or other residential facilities, voting at the polls is often impossible. Further, no constitutional principle protects the right of people with disabilities to accessible polling places, or to vote secretly and independently. This articles discusses the role of the Help America Vote Act in facilitating the right to vote for people with disabilities, including an analysis of a recent New York case involving implementation of the Act. This article was written by Professor Arlene Kanter, with assistance by Rebecca Russo (SUCOL’05).
Keywords: HAVA, Disability Law, Voting
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