Ensuring Equal Voting Rights for People with Disabilities in Denver, CO: An Expert's Perspective

As the 2020 election approaches, it is important to ensure that all eligible voters have equal access to the polls. This includes individuals with disabilities, who may face barriers when it comes to exercising their right to vote. In Denver, CO, there are various accommodations in place to ensure that people with disabilities can cast their ballots without any hindrances.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) was passed in 1990 and prohibits discrimination against individuals with disabilities in all areas of public life, including voting. This means that polling places must be accessible to people with disabilities and reasonable accommodations must be provided to ensure equal access to voting. In Denver, the ADA is enforced by the Denver Office of Disability Rights (DODR).

The DODR works to ensure that all city services, including voting, are accessible to individuals with disabilities. They also provide resources and support for voters with disabilities.

Accessible Polling Places

One of the key accommodations for voters with disabilities in Denver is accessible polling places. According to the ADA, all polling places must be physically accessible to individuals with disabilities. This means that there must be ramps or other means of entry for individuals who use wheelchairs or have mobility impairments. In addition, polling places must have accessible voting machines for individuals who are blind or have visual impairments.

These machines have audio and tactile features that allow individuals to vote independently and privately. Denver also offers curbside voting for individuals who are unable to enter the polling place due to a disability. This allows voters to remain in their vehicle and have a ballot brought out to them.

Assistance at the Polls

For individuals who may need assistance filling out their ballot, Denver offers the option of bringing a friend or family member to assist them. This person must be at least 18 years old and cannot be an employer or union representative. They must also sign an oath stating that they will not influence the voter's choices. In addition, polling places in Denver have trained election judges who can provide assistance to voters with disabilities.

These judges are trained to assist with a variety of accommodations, including reading the ballot, marking the ballot, and using the accessible voting machines.

Accessible Voting Information

Another important aspect of ensuring equal voting rights for people with disabilities is providing accessible voting information. In Denver, all election materials, including voter guides and sample ballots, are available in alternative formats such as large print, braille, and audio. This allows individuals with visual impairments to access the same information as other voters. In addition, Denver offers a voter hotline that is equipped to handle calls from individuals with disabilities. The hotline can provide information on accessible polling places, curbside voting, and other accommodations available for voters with disabilities.

Accessible Transportation

Transportation can be a major barrier for individuals with disabilities when it comes to voting.

In Denver, the Regional Transportation District (RTD) offers free rides on Election Day to individuals with disabilities who are registered to vote. This ensures that transportation is not a barrier for those who want to exercise their right to vote.

Challenges and Solutions

While there are accommodations in place for voters with disabilities in Denver, there are still challenges that need to be addressed. One major challenge is the lack of accessible polling places in certain areas of the city. This can make it difficult for individuals with disabilities to get to the polls and exercise their right to vote. To address this issue, the DODR is working with the Denver Elections Division to identify and address any barriers to accessibility at polling places.

They are also working to increase the number of accessible polling places in the city.


Ensuring equal voting rights for people with disabilities is crucial in a democratic society. In Denver, there are various accommodations in place to ensure that individuals with disabilities can exercise their right to vote without any barriers. However, there is still work to be done to address challenges and make the voting process more accessible for all. By continuing to prioritize accessibility and inclusivity, we can ensure that every eligible voter has a voice in our democracy.

Angélica Colgrove
Angélica Colgrove

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