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Promoting Access to Voting: Recommendations for Addressing Barriers to Private and Independent Voting for People with Disabilities



Kerrianne Buchanan, Kevin C. Mangold, Sharon J. Laskowski, Karen Reczek


As stated in Executive Order (EO) 14019, Promoting Access to Voting, the right to vote is the foundation of American democracy. The EO further recognizes that "People with disabilities continue to face barriers to voting and are denied legally required accommodations in exercising their fundamental rights and the ability to vote privately and independently." NIST produced this NIST Special Publication in response to its responsibilities described in Section 7 of the EO. NIST was specifically tasked to: 1. Evaluate the steps needed to ensure that the online National Mail Voter Registration Form is accessible to people with disabilities, and 2. Identify barriers and publish recommendations to remove barriers preventing individuals with disabilities from voting. Five systemic barriers voters with disabilities face throughout the voting process for privately and independently voting are identified. Recommended actions to overcome these barriers and promote access to voting for voters with disabilities are described. In many cases, existing best practices and guidance are recommended to be broadly applied to voting systems and processes across the country. This publication also presents recommendations to address barriers identified in specific aspects of the voting process that includes voter registration and the National Mail Voter Registration Form, vote-by-mail, using voting technology for in-person voting, voting at polling locations, and training and documentation for poll workers.
Special Publication (NIST SP) - 1273
Report Number


accessibility, accessible polling place, accessible voting system, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), assistive technology, ballot, ballot marking device (BMD), disability, electronic ballot delivery, electronic ballot marking, Executive Order 14019, Help America Vote Act (HAVA), in-person voting, National Mail Voter Registration Form (NMVRF), National Voter Registration Form (NVRF), poll worker training, remote accessible vote-by-mail (RAVBM), print disability, vote-by-mail, voter guide, voter independence, voter privacy, voter registration, voting rights, Voting Rights Act (VRA), voting technology


Buchanan, K. , Mangold, K. , Laskowski, S. and Reczek, K. (2022), Promoting Access to Voting: Recommendations for Addressing Barriers to Private and Independent Voting for People with Disabilities, Special Publication (NIST SP), National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg, MD, [online],, (Accessed April 16, 2024)
Created March 23, 2022, Updated November 29, 2022