Accessibility is more than providing assistance for those living with physical disabilities. It’s critical for individuals living with a mental illness, a developmental disability, or experiencing homelessness to understand their voter rights, which is why we put together a few key facts to know ahead of the 2022 general election.
“Many individuals, like the clients Guild serves, can have significant barriers to exercising their right to vote. That could include mobility challenges from medical conditions, mental health, and/ or substance use symptoms that make it difficult to stand in line with crowds to a lack of access to transportation to polling places,” says Amber Michel, Guild’s Director of Housing Services.
Polls open in Minnesota on Tuesday, November 8, 2022, at 7 a.m. (some counties may open later). All polls close at 8 p.m. Voters can register in person on Election Day before casting their ballot with proof of residence. Find your polling place on the Minnesota Secretary of State’s website.
Voting Accessibility for Unhoused Minnesotans
Eligible voters in Minnesota experiencing homelessness can register to vote on Election Day at the polls using the location of where they sleep as their ‘voting residence’. You may need to go to the polling place with someone who can confirm where you live, whether at a shelter, at a friend’s house, or outside.
The person accompanying you must also be a registered voter in your same precinct or a shelter staff member who can confirm that you are living there. For more details on this process, click here.
Voter Accessibility for Minnesotans Living with Developmental Disabilities
For voters with a developmental disability who understand what it means to vote, Federal law guarantees your right to vote. If you are under guardianship, you are still eligible to vote UNLESS a court order revokes that right.
If you can’t read or need help voting because of your disability, you can have someone help you vote. You can bring a friend, family member, or someone else. You can also ask the election judge to help you if you didn’t bring anyone with you.
If you cannot easily leave your vehicle to enter the polling place, you can ask to have a ballot brought out to you. This is known as ‘curbside voting.’
Two election judges from different major political parties will bring out a ballot to your vehicle. If you need to register or update your registration, they will bring you an application as well. When you are finished voting, election judges will bring your ballot inside for you and put it in the ballot box.
Protecting Your Privacy
It is essential to note your name and the location you list as your address when registering to vote are public records. For voters concerned about their safety or privacy concerns, there are ways to register without making your information public. Learn more here.
A criminal record does not affect your right to vote in Minnesota unless you are currently serving a felony conviction sentence, including probation, parole, or supervised release.
Time off Work to Vote
You have a right to take time off work to vote without losing your pay, personal leave, or vacation time if it falls within your scheduled work time. Employers cannot require you to use personal leave or vacation time.
Your employer can ask that you tell them when you will be gone and ask employees to coordinate their absences to minimize workplace disruptions.
Getting to the Polls
In elections past, transportation services have offered reduced to free fares for getting to the polls. As of November, there have not been any announcements by public transportation around the Twin Cities metro for election day deals.
Lyft is offering discount code VOTE22 for 50% off a ride (up to $10) on Election Day. Click here to enter your phone number to claim your credit.
How You Can Help Your Community
- Reach out to people and ask about their plan to vote.
- If you can, offer support like researching candidates, providing transportation, or vouching for voters in your precinct.
- Make sure people know their voting rights.
- Share this blog post with your social media network!