The end is near—for casting your vote: Tuesday, November 3, 2020, the presidential Election Day. No matter what your personal party affiliation is, you need to vote. The fact that we, as Americans, have the right to vote and worked hard to include many groups to have that right. Some nations do not have safe and free elections; we need to remember that it is our privilege and duty to vote.
Three constitutional amendments (see below) state that certain citizens are included in the voting process. Persons with disabilities need to be included in the voting process. To ensure that no physical challenge keeps people from voting, the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) works with Boards of Elections in every state to ensure that all people can vote, whether they have limitations with mobility, hearing, or sight or other challenges. And Lucas County is accessible! Really accessible.
Tim Monaco, Deputy Director of the Lucas County Board of Elections, explains that voters with disabilities have options when they cast their ballot, “Some might choose early voting where they can drop off their ballot at a dropbox at One Government Center, 1301 Monroe Street. Others might choose to vote by absentee ballot or by physically showing up at a voting site.”
Monaco continues, “There will be nearly 130 sites on polling day, all accessible. Board of Elections employees go through an ADA training to learn about access and details of assessing the sites and making them work for voters who need ramps, signage, or even voting machines. Accessible voting machines have marking pads that read the ballot so a visually challenged voter can hear it read on earphones and then mark their ballot using a Braille-and-raised-buttons touch pad.”
The ADA requires one of these voting machines at each site. Thanks to the vision of the Lucas County Board of Elections, all voting machines at each site are accessible and can be adapted to add accessibility options.
Monaco says that he welcomes comments, suggestions, or questions concerning the physical accessibility of the sites. “We always try to improve our sites to keep them safe and user-friendly for our voters,” he says.
“The Lucas County Board of Elections staff are trained in ADA compliance for the state of Ohio. Every year, half of the sites are assessed for compliance and the other half the next year. So all sites are looked at in two years. If a site is found to be non-compliant, it is adapted, or we will find a different location,” he explains.
That is good news for those who want to get out and vote, knowing that wherever they vote, the venue is accessible. Many voters will be relieved and feel less anxious about going to the polls if they know each voting site in Lucas County is accessible.
Voters can vote on site at their assigned election venue, or they can choose to vote by absentee ballot but must request a ballot. Ballots and directions can be found online, but the application cannot be emailed; only military or overseas voters can email the forms. All others must be mailed to or dropped off at the Board of Elections office. Voters can simply download the form, fill it out, and mail it back to the Lucas County Board of Elections.
The Lucas County website is easy to use and a great help to voters.
Monaco states, “We are always trying to improve, so let us know how we can improve your voting experience. Your comments are important to us, and we take them seriously and want to improve our sites. If voters have any questions, they can call us and we can direct your calls to the people who can help you.”
Kudos to the Lucas County Board of Elections! However you do it, vote. It is an American right and privilege.
For more information, visit the Lucas County Board of Elections website at https://www.co.lucas.oh.us/index.aspx?NID=75 or call 419-213-4001.
Constitutional voting amendments
The right to vote did not come easily to all United States’ citizens. Eligibility to vote in the United States was established both through the United States Constitution and by state law. Several constitutional amendments speak of voting inclusion:
The Fifteenth Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of race, color, or previous condition of servitude.”
The Nineteenth Amendment: “The right of citizens of the United States to vote shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.”
The Twenty-sixth Amendment: “Prohibits the states and the federal government from using age as a reason for denying the right to vote to citizens of the United States who are at least eighteen years old.”