To mark the 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, Attorney General Kwame Raoul launched an online guide for voters with disabilities in Illinois.
“Thirty-two years ago, the Americans with Disabilities Act finally prohibited discrimination against people with disabilities under the law, and it was a hard-won victory for activists who demanded equality and opportunity for people with disabilities,” said Raoul. “People with disabilities are entitled to fair and equal opportunities in all aspects of their lives, including voting. This new guide will help to inform voters with disabilities of their rights and offer practical information on the options they have for accessing their ballots.”
The landmark Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was signed into law July 26, 1990 and was designed to guarantee people with disabilities equal opportunities to be active participants in society. Considered by many to be the most sweeping civil rights legislation since the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the ADA resulted from tireless advocacy by disabled activists who demanded civil rights for people with disabilities. In passing the ADA, Congress acknowledged the historic isolation and segregation of people with disabilities, as well as the discrimination they experience in critical areas such as employment, housing, public accommodations, education, transportation, recreation, voting and more.
The voter guide now available on the Attorney General’s website highlights a new law that expands vote-by-mail options for voters with print disabilities. A print disability is defined as a temporary or permanent physical or mental impairment that prevents effective reading, writing, or use of printed materials. Print disabilities include blindness, low vision, physical dexterity limitations, and learning or cognitive disabilities. Beginning with the November 2022 general election, Illinois voters with print disabilities may request electronic delivery of their mail-in ballots. Using the Illinois State Board of Elections’ remote accessible vote-by-mail system, voters will be able to privately and independently read and mark their ballots using assistive technology.
Additionally, the Attorney General’s new guide offers a more general overview of rights for voters with disabilities protected by the state’s election code and also provides details about several options for accessible voting, including voting by mail and curbside voting.
Attorney General Raoul’s Disability Rights Bureau is responsible for investigating complaints related to noncompliance with state and federal laws, including the Illinois Human Rights Act, the Environmental Barriers Act, the Fair Housing Act, and the ADA. Attorneys and specialists in the bureau work to resolve violations of these laws and, when necessary, take legal action against violators.
In addition to its enforcement work, the Disability Rights Bureau provides technical assistance to individuals with disabilities and to public and private entities seeking to comply with disability rights laws. The bureau also conducts disability rights training programs for law enforcement, architects, engineers, building code officials and inspectors, judges and court personnel, business owners, disability rights organizations, and other groups throughout the state. Bureau staff members also serve on a number of committees that address a variety of issues impacting the lives of people with disabilities.
For more information about disability rights or to file a complaint, please contact the Attorney General’s Disability Rights Bureau by emailing [email protected]. Additional information about the voting process and voter registration status can be found on the Illinois State Board of Elections website or through local election authorities.
Contact a certified elder law attorney(*), such as Linda Strohschein and her team at Strohschein Law Group if you need more information on the guide for voters with disabilities in Illinois for yourself or a loved one. To set up an appointment, contact Strohschein Law Group at 630-300-0627.
This information provided by Strohschein Law Group is general in nature and is not intended to be legal advice, nor does it constitute a legal relationship. Please consult an attorney for advice regarding your individual situation.
(*) The Supreme Court of Illinois does not recognize certifications of specialties in the practice of law and the CELA designation is not a requirement to practice law in Illinois.