Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago

Commissioners

Langdon D. Neal, Chairman
Richard A. Cowen, Secretary/Commissioner
Marisel A. Hernandez, Commissioner

Lance Gough, Executive Director
Kelly Bateman, Asst. Executive Director

Home > For Voters > Accessibility / Voters With Disabilities

Accessibility / Voters with Disabilities

To assure accessible voting for seniors and voters with disabilities, the Board of Election Commissioners for the City of Chicago offers a variety of programs and services.

The following services are available if you have a physical characteristic, such as difficulty walking or standing, using a wheelchair, blindness or limited vision, deafness or difficulty hearing, or a characteristic that prevents you from entering a polling place. We will make every effort to make it possible for you to vote privately and independently.

Voter Registration
Chicago voters may check the status of their registrations here or find their polling places. In the three weeks immediately before the election, voters may also access a sample ballot at this section of the web site.

To register for the first time or to update your registration, voters may download the form here or call 1-312-269-7851 to ask to have a voter registration form mailed. (TTY 1-312-269-0027)

If you miss the Feb. 18, 2014 registration deadline for the March 18, 2014 Primary Election, state law requires that you use the grace-period registration program between Feb. 19 and March 15, 2014 to either register for the first time or to update your name or address. Click here for more information on Grace Period registration.

Early Voting
All Early Voting sites are fully accessible.

For the March 18, 2014 Primary Election, Chicago voters may use any of the city's Early Voting sites from March 3 to March 15, 2014. More information is available here or by calling 1-312-269-7900 (TTY 1-312-269-0027).

Vote By Mail/Absentee Voting
Any voter may apply to cast a ballot absentee by mail. Voters no longer need a reason or excuse to vote absentee by mail. Forms and information will be available here or you may call 1-312-269-7967 (TTY 1-312-269-0027).

Note: The Election Board must receive applications for absentee ballots in the Primary Election by March 13, 2014; however, because of the potential for delays in the mail, the Board strongly encourages voters to file in early March to be able to receive and return the ballot before Election Day.

For those who miss the deadline to apply for absentee ballots, in-person absentee voting is offered at the Election Board offices the Sunday and Monday before the election at 69 W. Washington St.

Polling Places
Chicago voters may find their polling places at this section of this web site and learn if that polling place is fully accessible. Although every effort is made to provide accessible polling places for each precinct, certain structures may have one or more features that impede access for every voter, and certain accessible structures in a precinct may not be available for the Board to use as a polling place.

Voting for Permanently Disabled / Residents of Licensed Care Facilities
Registered voters who are permanently disabled or incapacitated or are residents of a licensed nursing home or care facility may request an Affidavit and Application for Disabled Voter or Resident of Nursing Home or Care Facility, Form 504DVI.

Once certified, a voter with a Disabled Voter's Identification Card (Form DVI) will receive an absentee ballot application automatically for all elections during the next five (5) years.

The DVI certification requires the signature of the applicant's physician and the date of the medical license.  Once this certification has been completed, it should be returned to the Board of Elections, Absentee Department, 69 West Washington Street, Suite 600, Chicago, Illinois 60602. Requests should be made by contacting the Absentee Department at 1-312-269-7967 (TTY 1-312-269-0027). Completed paperwork needs to be received in early March so that there is sufficient processing time. The DVI form is available here.

Accessibility Devices and Features in Polling Places
In Chicago polling places, the Election Board offers various tools to help voters with different physical abilities:

   Ballot Marker Grippers allow voters to easily hold the marking pens for paper ballots.
   Large Ballot Viewers are magnifying lenses designed to enlarge the print on the paper ballots to assist voters who require assistance to read the names of offices, candidates and referenda.
   Wheelchair accessible voting booths are available in each polling place and allow persons in wheelchairs to use in marking a paper optical-scan ballot or the touchscreen. Voters who are unable to stand for long periods of time also may use this unit and a provided chair.
   Audio Controller Unit and Audio Ballots in the touchscreen voting units allow a visually impaired voter to hear the balloting instructions, offices, candidates and referenda and allow them to make their choices and cast their ballot by use of a hand held controller unit and supplied headphones.  This controller can also be affixed to the arm of a chair or wheelchair by using the Velcro straps attached to the unit.
   Audio Visual Ballots on the touchscreen allow voters who may have difficulty moving their arms or dexterity issues to use the keypad and the headphones but also see the ballot being displayed on the screen.
   Sip-and-Puff Devices on the touchscreen voting units can be used in conjunction with the audio controller.  The sip and puff device will navigate the voter through the audio ballot.
   Door Bells are offered outside entrances to polling places with heavy doors.  When voters ring the bells, a judge of election will come and open the door for the voter.
   Threshold Ramps are placed at polling places where the door threshold is such that a voter in a wheelchair may have difficulty entering.  The threshold ramps will make for easier entry into the polling place.
   An Information and Services Notice (Form 25) is printed in large type. This Notice lists services and rules for voters who may receive assistance while voting. This Notice is to be posted on a wall in each polling place.
   Alternate Entrance Signs, where needed, will be posted at polling places to direct voters with disabilities to the entrance that offers the easiest access.
   Assisted Voting is available to those who designate a trusted family member or other friend to help the voter cast a ballot. An affidavit must be signed by the voter and the person assisting. The voter also may request the assistance of two judges of election, one from each major political party, to help the voter cast a ballot.
   Curbside Voting is provided when voters file a request for assistance in cases where they are unable to gain access to their polling places because of structural features of the building.  Every effort is made to use buildings that are fully accessible. However, some centralized voting sites are not fully accessible, and in other cases, owners of accessible buildings have not allowed their buildings to be used as polling places.
  NOTE: By law, the Election Board must receive a request in writing for curbside assistance in writing no later than 5:00 p.m. on March 17, 2014, at 69 W. Washington St., Suite 600, Chicago IL 60602.  By filing a Request for a Ballot by a Voter who is Unable to Enter the Polling Place (please include the voter's name, address, precinct, ward and polling place, the hour the voter expects to arrive, and, if available, a cell phone number), the voter is requesting that two (2) judges of election of opposite political parties bring a ballot to a location where forward motion toward the polling place can no longer be continued; but, in no case shall a ballot be delivered to the voter beyond 50 feet of the entrance to the building in which the polling place is located.  At this location, an application for ballot must be completed by the voter and verified by the judges.  The voter will be allowed to cast the ballot privately.  The Board will notify the judges of election at the appropriate precinct polling places of requests filed at least one day before Election Day.
   If the voter cannot file that request a day in advance, the voter may still go to the polling place on Election Day, and if that site is inaccessible, relay the request to alert the Judges of Election to make curbside voting available. If there are questions, The Judges of Election should refer to Page 52 of the Election Judge Handbook, and the Judges or the Voter may call Election Central at 312-269-7870 with questions.
   Designated Parking is provided at polling places thanks to the City of Chicago Department of Streets & Sanitation, which helps assign temporary spaces for vehicles that display the placards for drivers with disabilities.

Questions? Contact Us

ON ELECTION DAY: Call Election Central at 1-312-269-7870 with any questions (TTY 1-312-269-0027 for the hearing impaired only)

OTHER THAN ELECTION DAY: Call 1-312-269-7858 (TTY 1-312-269-0027 for the hearing impaired only) or send an email to kchin@chicagoelections.net