Assistance for Voters with Disabilities
The Registration & Elections Division has a long-standing commitment to working with voters with disabilities to help them exercise their right to vote. This page provides general information about these efforts, and voters are encouraged to contact us with specific requests for assistance using the contact information below.
In 2006, the County of San Mateo purchased and implemented a direct recording electronic voting system, the Hart InterCivic eSlate voting system, enabling voters with disabilities to vote privately and independently for the first time. This system includes the Disabled Access Unit, which includes audio ballot reading technology, uniquely shaped large buttons with Braille descriptions, a lower overall height to permit wheelchair-based use, and technology that permits use of adaptive interface devices such as sip-and-puff and buddy buttons to control the input. The eSlate system, including the Disabled Access Unit, is available at polling places throughout the County, including during early voting and on election day, and voters with disabilities may also contact us to schedule a time at the location of their preference during early voting to vote using the Disabled Access Unit.
Through site visits and cooperation from various facilities throughout San Mateo County, all polling locations are ADA accessible to voters with disabilities under ADA Title II and in compliance with guidelines set by the Secretary of State of California.
In 2015, the Registration & Elections Division founded the Voter Accessibility Advisory Committee (VAAC), a committee designed to provide guidance and information on accessibility matters related to the conduct of elections. You may read more about the VAAC’s role here.
For voters with disabilities, the San Mateo County Registration & Elections Division offers three options:
- Request to have a Vote by Mail ballot delivered to the voter’s home by Poll Workers.
- Request that the Disabled Access Unit, also called the Mobile Voting Center, be brought to a convenient location during the early voting period for the voter to cast an electronic ballot privately and independently.
- Request the Registration & Elections Division to arrange for free transportation to and from the voter’s polling location or a Voting Center, including during the early voting period.
Appointments are required for all three options, and service will be available during the early voting period beginning 29 days prior to an election and on Election Day. Service appointments can be scheduled between the hours of 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., 7 days a week, and Poll Workers will remain onsite to provide assistance if requested. Voters who contact us Monday through Thursday will receive service the following day or sooner. Requests made on Fridays will receive an appointment for the following Monday or sooner if possible. Special accommodations may be arranged for service outside established hours.
Voters and prospective voters with disabilities may contact the Registration & Elections Division at 888.762.8683 or email firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to request assistance, including regarding registering to vote, modifying voter registration, and enrolling in the early voting programs described above.