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This weekend marks 24 years since the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the landmark civil rights law that prohibits discrimination based on disability. The law has far-reaching impacts, including making our elections more accessible to Americans with mental or physical disabilities, who make up 1 out of 7 eligible voters. By requiring polling places to provide necessary public accommodations for voters with disabilities, the ADA plays a critical role in helping ensure that all eligible voters have access to the ballot box.
In celebration of the 24th anniversary of the ADA, here are just a few ways the League works to ensure equal access to the ballot for Americans with disabilities.
Americans with disabilities are less likely to be registered to vote than Americans without disabilities. The League holds voter registration drives at a variety of locations across the country. With the help of VOTE411.org, League members disseminate voter education materials and make sure all eligible voters have the information they need to vote.
During elections, League members play a role in helping ensure proper implementation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by serving as volunteer poll watchers. League members check on physical accessibility requirements mandated under the Americans with Disabilities Act -- including exit ramps, elevators and parking -- and help ensure that poll workers are aware of and responsive to the needs of voters with disabilities.
We work tirelessly to fight restrictive voter ID measures which disproportionately affect people with disabilities – many of whom lack driver’s licenses.
Leagues across the country help increase voting access for Americans with disabilities by ensuring that states are compliant with the National Voter Registration Act (NVRA), critical legislation that requires state public assistance and disabilities agencies to offer clients the opportunity to register to vote.
Our democracy is powered by a diversity of voices. The League of Women Voters is committed to ensuring that our nation’s elections are free, fair and accessible for all eligible voters. Twenty-four years after it was passed, the Americans with Disabilities Act remains critical in ensuring that our electorate is representative of the population as a whole, and that all voters can weigh in on what matters to them most.