In-Person Voting – Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Who can vote in Pennsylvania?
A: Any citizen registered to vote in Pennsylvania can vote in Pennsylvania elections.
Q: Is there anything I need to do before going to the polls?
A: You should check your polling location and whether it is accessible to you. We recommend that every person with a disability develop a “voting plan” for the day of. Your right to vote is important and there are things beyond your control that may get in the way. Planning for worst-case scenarios can help guarantee your voice is heard. A sample voting plan can be found on the Institute on Disabilities’ PA Voter Resource page.1
Q: What should I bring with me to the polling place on Election Day?
A: To vote in Pennsylvania for the first time, you will have to show some form of identification, but it doesn’t need to be a photo ID. Pennsylvania is a non-strict state when it comes to voter identification; our polling places accept many different types of identification if they include your name and address. This could be any check from the government, a current utility bill, or your voter registration confirmation issued by the County Voter Registration Office as long as it has your name and address.2
Q: Can my disability disqualify me from voting?
A: No. Pennsylvania has no voting competency laws that could affect your right to vote. Competency laws can impede the rights of individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities, Mental Illness, or other cognitive limitations from exercising their right to vote.
Q: Can I still vote if I have a guardian?
A: Yes. If you are told you cannot vote because you have a guardian, contact Disability Rights PA for help at 1-800-692-7443.
Q: What if a poll worker tells me I am not permitted to vote?
A: If a poll worker attempts to discourage you or bar you from voting, they are breaking the law. They cannot preclude you from voting solely based on your disability and any attempt to stop you from voting should be reported. If this or other barriers interfere with your voting on Election Day, call the Vote 411 Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).3
Q: What do I do if my polling place is not accessible to my needs?
A: Every polling place is required by federal law to have at least one accessible voting system. Before Election Day, you can check the location of your polling place and its voting system’s accessibility. This check will not include physical barriers to voting, such as doors or hallways that are too narrow for a wheelchair, or a lack of ramped curbs outside for people using mobility devices. If you run into any issues with accessibility, you can contact your county’s election officials. If you’re unsure who your election officials are, they can be searched on this Contact your Election Officials page.4 You may also call Disability Rights Pennsylvania Intake Line at 1-800-692-7443 for questions and concerns regarding accessibility.5
Q: Can I request accommodations once at my polling place?
A: Yes. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA), people with disabilities are entitled to reasonable accommodations as long as they do not “fundamentally alter the nature of the goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages, or accommodations.”6 For example: if you need to sit down while waiting in line, the polling location should accommodate you. If they refuse, contact the Vote 411 Election Protection Hotline at 1-866-OUR-VOTE (1-866-687-8683).
1https://disabilities.temple.edu/resources/pennsylvania-voter-resources (current through September 2023)
2https://www.vote.pa.gov/Register-to-Vote/Pages/Voter-ID-for-First-Time-V... (current through September of 2023)
3https://www.vote411.org/node/7398 (current through September 2023). For other languages, you can call the Spanish hotline here: 1-888-VE-Y-VOTA (1-888-839-8682), the Arabic here: 1-844-YALLA-US (1-844-925-5287), and Bengali, Cantonese, Hindi, Urdu, Korean, Mandarin, Tagalog, or Vietnamese here: 1-888-274-8683.
6 ADA Title III Regulation 28 CFR Part 36