In many municipalities, October 27 is the last day local election officials will accept an application to vote by mail in a November 2, 2021 election. If you have not applied yet, but wish to participate in vote by mail, submit your 2021 Vote by Mail Application to your local election officials right away!
Requesting Accessible Electronic Vote by Mail as an Accommodation
Accessible electronic vote by mail systems are readily available in several municipalities for the upcoming election and local election official is obligated to accept and consider requests for accommodation from voters with disabilities.
Examples of Cities/Towns with Accessible Electronic Vote by Mail Options:
- Boston has implemented its Accessible Electronic Remote Voting System, per a settlement agreement that allows voters to mark electronic ballots and officially cast the through an online portal using their personal assistive technology. Boston voters with disabilities who wish to vote by mail or absentee, but cannot complete a standard print ballot privately and independently due to a vision, mobility/dexterity, or other disability (“print disabilities”), should follow the process detailed on here on Boston.gov.
- The following cities/towns now offer the same accessible online portal as Boston:
- Worcester – See instructions for accessing the system here on Worcesterma.gov.
- Cambridge – See instructions for applying to vote by mail here on CambridgeMA.gov and submit a request for accommodation (example below) to firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Watertown – See instructions for applying to vote by mail here on Watertown-MA.gov and submit a request for accommodation example below to email@example.com.
- West Springfield has agreed to provide voters who apply to vote by mail (see see TownofWestSpringfield.org) and request accommodations (example below) access to an accessible PDF ballot and ballot affidavit that can be completed electronically (allowing for a typed name in lieu of a hand-drawn signature for those who require that accommodation) and returned via email to the Town Clerk at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For voters outside of the cities and towns discussed above who wish to vote by mail in upcoming elections and cannot effectively access standard print paper ballots, Disability Law Center (DLC) recommends that you submit your 2021 Vote by Mail Application AND request an accommodation for your local election official by phone or email. Contact information for local election officials is available here: https://www.sec.state.ma.us/ele/eleev/ev-find-my-election-office.htm. Below is an example of a request for accommodation; voters should substitute their personal information for the language in brackets:
I have submitted my 2021 Vote by Mail Application. I provide this request for reasonable accommodations to allow me to cast by vote by mail ballot effectively, privately, and independently. As indicated on my Application, I am a resident of [your CITY/TOWN]. As someone who [e.g., is blind, has low vision, is paraplegic, has limited use of my hands], I cannot vote using a standard print ballot without help from a third party. Accordingly, I request the following accommodations, which the City of Boston currently provides:
An accessible electronic vote by mail system that includes: (a) an electronic vote by mail ballot accessible with screen reading assistive technology that can be officially cast electronically; (b) an accessible electronic means of ballot certification that permits use of a typed name or other proof of identify as a substitute for a hand-drawn signature; and (c) the opportunity to complete my vote by mail application with a typed name in lieu of a hand-drawn signature.
DLC strongly encourages people whose requests for accommodation have been denied by their local election officials to contact our office right away so that DLC can track the denials and discuss follow up. Reach DLC via email at email@example.com or phone at 617-723-8455.