Curbside option makes voting accessible

Since 1999, Texas has required that all new voting systems be accessible to voters with disabilities. Curbside voting is an option for those who are unable to get into the polling location. Voters can cast their vote from their car or even at the entrance to the polling place.

Kenneth Fontenot has been legally blind for more than a decade and in the past going to the polls to cast his vote has been cumbersome.

"It really made you feel like you was handicapped," said Fontenot.

But this year, poll workers at the Port Arthur public library brought the voting tablet to his car, verified his information right there and even let his wife vote at the vehicle.

"From the time they got to my car to the time they left, it's probably about 10 minutes," said Fontenot.

Indoors, there are also wheelchair accessible kiosks, audio ballots and clerks designated to help voters upon request.

Fontenot says the curbside voting felt more private than when he's requested help from a clerk in the past but the Port Arthur man says no matter the method, it's important for every American to vote.

"We each have the same vote. Nobody has anymore rights than anybody else when it comes to voting....Go vote. They will take care of you no matter what your disability is," said Fontenot.

Jefferson County Clerk Carolyn Guidry says each polling location is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Voters wishing to use the curbside voting option need to have someone go into the polling center for them to alert the election officers they have arrived. Voters can also call ahead.

"You have the same opportunities if you have any type of disability whether it's us going to the car or you coming in and having those features," said Guidry.

Guidry also says there is no requirement to request the curbside vote .

For more information about voting rights follow this link: http://votetexas.gov/voters-with-special-needs/

For election code follow this link: http://governor.state.tx.us/disabilities/resources/voting/

For more information about the Americans with Disabilities Act follow this link: http://www.ada.gov/ada_voting/ada_voting_ta.htm


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