How to Assist Voters with Disabilities
Any Oregon voter with a disability can get assistance to register to vote, vote their ballot, or return their ballot by calling their County Elections Office or 1 866 ORE VOTES. The voter can also request assistance from a caretaker, care provider or someone else the voter chooses.
All Congregate living facilities should let their residents know that assistance is available to them. The facility may form a Facility Assistance Team or call on a County Voter's Assistance Team. Teams must be made up of two registered voters that do not have the same political party affiliation.
Who Can Provide Assistance
- A County Voter's Assistance Team
- A Facility Voter's Assistance Team
- Someone chosen by the voter with some exceptions (see below)
Who Cannot Provide Assistance
- The voter's employer
- An agent of the voter's employer
- A union officer or agent of a union of which the voter is a member
Rules and Guidelines
There are several resources that providers can use to help inform voters. Resources must be non-partisan and unbiased.
Suggested resources include:
- The State of Oregon Voters' Pamphlet published by the Secretary of States' office
- The League of Women Voters simplified voters' guide
- Voting guides published by local advocacy groups
- Web sites that offer non-partisan and unbiased information
Do not summarize, edit, or make comments that are meant to coerce or persuade the voter when reading materials to the voter.
Do not display things that suggests a political preference or party allegiance.
Do not try to influence the person you are assisting to choose or not choose a particular political party.
Do not try to influence the person you are assisting to vote their ballot in a particular way.
Do not wear anything that would reasonably be understood to be associated with a past, present or future political party or political preference.
Voting the Ballot
When assisting an individual in voting their ballot:
- Respect the voter's request for privacy
- Check the instructions on the ballot and have the voter use either a pen (blue or black ink only) or a No. 2 pencil
- Make sure the voter has accurately completed their ballot
- Explain to the voter that if they vote for more candidates than allowed, or if they vote both Yes and No on a measure, it is called an overvote. An overvote will not count for that candidate or measure.
- Offer to correct any mistakes made by the voter to indicate the voter's true intent
- Check the back of the ballot for additional election contests
Do not make any stray marks outside any of the selected ovals or arrows.
Do not force the voter to vote for all candidate races or all measures on the ballot. The voter is not required to vote on every contest. Those they do vote on will still count.
Do not change the vote unless the voter you are assisting asks you to do so.
Do not coerce or pressure the voter to vote in a certain way or for a certain candidate.
Do not share how the voter voted with anyone. Respect the voter's right to secrecy.
Providing a Replacement Ballot
You must provide the voter with the opportunity to get a replacement ballot if the voter requests one for any reason. Contact the County Elections Office to request a replacement ballot.
Possible reasons for requesting a replacement ballot include:
- the voter makes a mistake
(votes for the wrong candidate, overvotes, etc)
- the ballot is damaged or spoiled
(it is torn, something is spilled on it, etc.)
- the voter loses their ballot
Returning the Ballot
When assisting an individual in returning their ballot:
- Insert the ballot inside the Secrecy Envelope and seal it
- Insert the Secrecy Envelope inside the Return Identification Envelope and seal it
- Have the voter sign the Return Identification Envelope. If the voter, due to a disability, is unable to sign, they may use a stamp or put their mark on the Return Identification Envelope. This is only considered a valid signature if the voter has submitted a Signature Stamp Attestation to their County Elections Office. Signature Stamp Attestation forms are available at the County Elections Office.
- Immediately return the ballot by mail or by dropping it off at a County Elections Office or an official ballot drop site.