Disability Rights Timeline 1986

1986: U.S. Congress passes the Protection and Advocacy for Persons with Mental Illness (PAIMI) program.  This permits DDAN to add advocacy and legal services for persons with psychiatric disabilities.

1986: DDAN changed its name to the Pennsylvania Protection and Advocacy (PP&A), recognizing its expanded responsibility.

1986: PP&A Board of Directors was expanded to include persons with psychiatric disabilities and the Mental Health Advisory Council (MHAC) was created.


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Primary Election Day Checklist

Reminder to Register for the Tuesday, May 16, 2017 Primary Election

Friends –

Primary Election Day is Tuesday, May 16, 2017.  You must register to vote by April 17, 2017.  Click here to learn how to register to vote.

You might qualify to vote by Absentee Ballot if you can’t make it to the polls on Election Day.

Click here to learn more about voting by absentee ballot including important deadlines.


Primary Election Day Checklist



Please contact Disability Rights Pennsylvania if you have any concerns or questions.

Voice:  1-800-692-7443, ext. 400

TDD:  877-375-7139

Email:  intake@disabilityrightspa.org

Thank you,

Disability Rights Pennsylvania
Offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh


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Where Do We Go From Here?

By: Deborah Delgado, Disability Rights Pennsylvania

Our country experienced a very unusual Election cycle in 2016. The unique beauty of living in a democracy is our right to vote and sometimes our favored candidate wins and sometimes the opponent wins. Each one of us is entitled to choose who we vote for and entitled to do it independently and privately! From discussions we have had on the DVC Advisory Committee, we know that some voters with disabilities had no problems at all at their polling places and other people experienced some barriers to casting a private and independent vote. If you had a problem voting on Election Day, I still encourage you to contact me so that we can keep track of these issues and so that we can ultimately work to remove these barriers.

If you have questions, comments or concerns about voting rights, we definitely want to hear from you.

Contact Deborah Delgado at:
ddelgado@disabilityrightspa.org or 800-692-7443 Extension 317

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ID at the Polls

You only have to show Identification (ID) if you are voting for the very first time or if you have moved and are voting in a new polling place.

Acceptable ID:  Photo ID includes a PA Driver’s License or PennDOT ID card, ID issued by any Commonwealth agency, US Government ID, Passport, Armed Forces ID, Student ID, or Employee ID.

An ID does not have to have your picture on it.Vote

Non-photo ID includes a firearm permit, current utility bill, bank statement, paycheck or government check that shows your current name and address.

If you experience issues at your polling place on Election Day, contact Disability Rights Pennsylvania by calling 717-839-5227 or send an email to electionday@disabilityrightspa.org




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Before Election Day Checklist

Here are some things you can do before Election Day to be prepared to vote. Red check mark

Make sure you are registered to vote at your current address. Use this website to check your registration. http://www.votespa.com/en-us/register-to-vote/Pages/Confirm-Your-Registration.aspx

If you moved since the last election, update your voter registration with your new address. www.votespa.com

Find your polling place and write down the address. https://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/Pages/PollingPlaceInfo.aspx

Find out if your polling place is accessible. You can find this out on the website of the county where you live. You can also find this information on the Department of State website https://www.pavoterservices.state.pa.us/Pages/PollingPlaceInfo.aspx

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What are My Voting Rights?

Federal Laws

  • The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002 gives you the right to vote privately and independently. HAVA made the voting process more inclusive and accessible.
  • The National Voter Registration Act (NVRA) of 1993 gives you the right to register to vote at any government agency that provides services to people with disabilities.vote
  • The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990 makes it illegal for the government to discriminate against people with disabilities. Title II requires states and counties to provide reasonable accommodations and modifications to the voting process.
  • The Voting Accessibility for Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 says that polling places must be accessible to senior citizens and people with disabilities. If they are not, you must be offered an alternative means of voting.
  • The National Voting Rights Act of 1965 (1982 amendment) says that you have the right to choose a person to support you with voting, but the person helping you cannot be your boss or someone from your labor union. The Law also says that states cannot make voters pass reading tests before letting them vote.
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Voter Registration in Pennsylvania

You are eligible to register if:

  1. You are 18 or older on or before the day of the election in which you want to vote
  2. You are a US Citizen for at least a month before the election in which you want to vote
  3. You are a PA and Election District resident in which you want to register for at least 30 days before the election

What’s the deadline to register before an election or primary?

Your voter registration form must be completed, signed and submitted 30 days before an election.

How can I register to vote?

  1. Online at http://register.votespa.com

Be sure to have your PA Driver’s License or PENNDOT card handy.

  1. At any PENNDOT (PA Department of Transportation) Photo Licensing Center
  2. In person at a county voter registration office
  3. At a government agency
  4. By mail…use a paper voter registration form or download the form from www.votespa.com

When do I have to change my registration?

When you move…change your name…or if you want to change your political party designation

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ADA Checklist for Polling Places

FYI Friends:

The Department of Justice today released an updated technical assistance publication on polling place accessibility for voters with disabilities. The publication, “ADA Checklist for Polling Places,”https://www.ada.gov/votingchecklist.htm includes a survey to guide election officials in evaluating the accessibility of facilities used or being considered for use as polling places.

To find out more about the ADA, call the Justice Department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TTY), or access its ADA.gov website.

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My Struggles as a First Time Voter


By Megan Ritchey, Altoona Voting Rights Advocate

When I was in high school I was in the school to work program. My place of employment was The Center for Independent Living where I learned how to advocate for myself and other people with disabilities.

I was looking forward to turning 18 and being able to vote in my first election. Having my voice heard was very important to me.

I knew from going to our polling place with my parents previously, that even though it said it was accessible, it wasn’t accessible enough for me to be able to vote there.

They had a stair lift from the first floor to the basement, which meant I would have to be lifted from my wheelchair and put on the stair lift and then when I got to the bottom, I would have to be lifted again.

I called the Election board and spoke with the lady in charge and her suggestion was to have a portable wheelchair for me at the bottom of the stairs so I could be pushed to the voting booth, or for me to vote absentee ballot. I told her that wasn’t even an option because it was my right to be able to go and cast my vote.

Because it was too late to change my polling place for the primary, I had to have my father lift me in and out of my chair and use the portable chair, but I am happy to say that for the General Election, my place and several others were changed to fully accessible locations.

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