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Senior Voters and Voters with Special Needs

Senior Voters and Voters with Special Needs

The Travis County Clerk’s Office is committed to creating a "safe haven" for voters so that they can exercise their right to vote in a polling place with a non-intimidating, supportive environment. We believe in making all polling places fully accessible and in seeking input from the community to assure that accessibility. We believe that all voters have the right to cast their ballot independently and in secret. To meet these goals, Travis County’s efforts include:

  • Offering eSlate voting equipment and a system of electronic voting that meets disability standards as prescribed by the Texas Secretary of State and Federal Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requirements,
  • Working to ensure that 100 percent of all polling locations are accessible in accordance with standards set forth by the United States Department of Justice,
  • Providing education and training to election workers on methods to best assist voters with disabilities and voters 65 years of age and older, and
  • Providing voter outreach through demonstrations and educational materials.

We can also assist you with receiving a ballot by mail. This option is available to registered voters who are 65 years of age or older, sick, or disabled.

Voting System Offers Accessibility Options

Travis County’s voting system meets the disability standards as prescribed by the Texas Secretary of State and Federal Help America Vote Act. These features allow voters to cast their votes privately, securely, and without assistance.

  • Voters who are visually impaired or blind may choose to use headphones to hear the ballot read aloud. The audio is recorded in both English and Spanish.
  • Voters with limited dexterity or limited upper body mobility may vote by using the tactile input switches on the equipment. Sip-and-puff accessibility is also available.
  • Voters with disabilities may request the option of "curbside voting." In this case, a poll worker brings a voting unit to the voter’s vehicle.

Polling Place Accessibility

The Travis County Clerk’s Elections Division is dedicated to making all polling places fully accessible (including the pathway to the polling place) and seeking input from the community to ensure that accessibility. Polling places are inspected to ensure compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act Checklist for Polling Places , and election workers are trained to offer support to persons with special needs.

Receiving Assistance at the Polls

You are entitled to receive assistance if you cannot read or write or have a physical disability that prevents you from reading or marking the ballot. You may be assisted by:

  • A person of your choice who is not an election worker,
  • Two election workers on Election Day; or
  • One election worker during early voting.

You may not be assisted by your employer, an agent of your employer, or an officer or agent of your union.

The person assisting you must read you the entire ballot, unless you ask to have only parts of the ballot read. The person assisting you must take an oath that he or she will not try to influence your vote and will mark your ballot as you direct. If you choose to be assisted by polling place officials, poll watchers and election inspectors may observe the voting process, but if you ask to be assisted by a person you choose, no one else may watch you vote.
It is illegal for a person assisting you to try to influence your vote, mark your ballot in a way other than the way you have asked, or tell anyone how you voted.

Using an Interpreter

If you cannot speak English, or if you communicate only with sign language, you may use an interpreter to help you communicate with election officials. You may select any registered voter of Travis County to be your interpreter. If you cannot read the languages on the ballot, your interpreter may also assist you by translating the language on the ballot for you in the voting booth. If you are deaf and do not have a sign language interpreter who can accompany you to communicate with the poll worker or read the ballot, please contact us at (512) 238-VOTE (8683) or (512) 854-4996.

Curbside Voting

If you are physically unable to enter the polling place, you may ask that an election officer bring a voting unit to you at the entrance of the polling place or to a car at curbside. You can vote curbside during early voting or on Election Day.

Voters are encouraged to contact us ahead of time so that we can notify the polling location that you are planning to vote curbside so that they can watch for your arrival. You can call us at (512) 238-VOTE (8683) or (512) 854-4996.

Applying for a Photo ID Disability Exemption

Voters with a disability may apply for a permanent exemption. The application must contain written documentation either from the U.S. Social Security Administration evidencing he or she has been determined to have a disability, or from the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs evidencing a disability rating of at least 50 percent. Exemption applications in English PDF Icon and Spanish PDF Icon are available at TravisCountyTax.org .

We Want Your Input

If you have questions or want to provide feedback about accessibility issues, please contact our Disability Coordinator by email or by (512) 238-VOTE (8683) or (512) 854-4996.

Additional information on voting accessibility can be found on the United States Election Assistance Commission or Texas Secretary of State’s websites.

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