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.
For example, as the result of a settlement agreement, the City of Boston has implemented its Accessible Electronic Remote Voting System that allows voters to mark electronic ballots officially cast 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, should follow the process detailed on here on Boston.gov right away.
Following adoption of the system in Boston, Worcester also started offering an accessible vote by mail system for voters with disabilities that allow electronic marking and return of an accessible electronic ballot. For more information, visit Worcesterma.gov.
For voters outside of Boston and Worcester 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or phone at 617-723-8455.