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Key Tenets Of The Voting Accessibility For The Elderly And Handicapped Act


Voting being a fundamental right of all citizens of United States has been promoted and ensured through many regulations to strengthen the overall democratic structure of the country. One important legislation in this direction is the Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act. The main reason behind this legislation being passed was to ensure that both the elderly people and the people with disability can exercise their right to vote without any major hassle, especially those created by the very condition of these people. It is a comprehensive regulation dealing with the manner in which such voters would be registered, how their polling stations would be allotted and the major facilities that shall be available at these polling stations.

Selection of the Polling Facilities
The Section 3 of this Act defines the major points in choosing the polling stations for people with disabilities. It requires the chief election officer of the State to look for and record all the polling stations in his area.It shall be expected that the officer sends annual lists of polling stations and their level of accessibility to the Federal Election Commission. The list should have information about how accessible a place is to people who have physical disabilities.  The report should be sent no later than December 31 of the year. It is based on this information that the polling stations shall be chosen for every election.

Selection of the Polling Facilities and Aids for Registration and Voting
The Section 4 of this legislation defines how the facilities will be chosen at which election registration  shall be conducted. It requires every state and lesser political subdivision to account for all such facilities as can be used for registration purposes. Such information shall be used to identify permanent voter registration centers. Further arrangements shall be made to make these places disabled friendly.

Section 5 lays down that the government of every State shall be required to provide appropriate aids for voting by the elderly citizens and the physically challenged. This includes printing of instructions in large type size for the visually impaired. Further it requires appropriate support by telecommunication system to people who have hearing disabilities. The section also makes provisions of absentee ballots where such ballot can be cast without production of any medical certificate. Nor would any notarization be needed for this purpose. Special reporting provisions have been made to ensure transparency in the entire process.

Failure to comply with this law shall attract penalty as laid down in Section 6. The United States Attorney General is as well as the aggrieved person has the right to bring action for declaratory or injunctive relief against that State or subdivision of United States.