Assistance takes many forms at the polling place

Early voting, which is underway in Minnesota, is a great option for people with disabilities. But many people still like […]

Early voting, which is underway in Minnesota, is a great option for people with disabilities. But many people still like to cast ballots in person, on the day of the election. Voters with disabilities can find assistance at the polls or bring a helper. Be ready to follow specific rules.

Bringing a helper? A family member, friend, neighbor, legal guardian or staff member from a residential facility can come along and help with voting. Let the election judges know that a helper is present as soon as the voter signs in Make it clear that help is needed to fill out a ballot.

The only people who cannot assist voters at the polling place are candidates for elections or representative of the voter’s union. Having a candidate assist at the polls has been a controversial topic in Minnesota in recent years.

A helper can assist in all parts of the voting process, including in the voting booth. The voter can show a ballot privately to an election judge to check that it is correctly marked.

When the ballot is being filled out, don’t be offended if an election judge is standing by. The question may be asked, “Are you assisting or influencing?” At times helpers do try to tell people with disabilities whom to vote for, or how to vote on ballot questions. That isn’t allowed.

Helpers are also not allowed to tell others how someone voted.

Voters with disabilities can also use motor voting or curbside voting at a polling place. Have a helper go into the polls and request help. two election judges, each from different parties, will come out and help with the ballot. once the ballot is filled out, it is taken back inside and placed in the county.

This option of voting can also be used to register at the polls. Or it can be used to update voter registration, as registration materials can be brought to a waiting vehicle. An example of an update might be when someone moves withing an assisted living facility. The apartment number may be different and the voter still lives in the same precinct. but that requires a new registration.

Voters with disabilities shouldn’t hesitate to go to the polls. Election judges are always available to help. Ask when signing in.

Help with marking a ballot can be obtained from two election judges from different political more parties. They are not allowed to influence choices or reveal a vote to others.

Election judges can also help voters find a seated voting booth or place to fill out a ballot. A precinct should have at least one voting booth where a person can vote using a chair or a wheelchair.

Assistance can also be obtain by using a ballot marking machine. Don’t hesitate to ask election judge for help using a machine, or in getting started.

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