Title 42 - The Public Health And Welfare Chapter 20 - Elective Franchise Subchapter I-f - Voting Accessibility For The Elderly And Handicapped

Sec. 1973ee Congressional declaration of purpose

It is the intention of Congress in enacting this subchapter to promote the fundamental right to vote by improving access for handicapped and elderly individuals to registration facilities and polling places for Federal elections.

(Pub. L. 98-435, Sec. 2, Sept. 28, 1984, 98 Stat. 1678.)


Section 9 of Pub. L. 98-435 provided that: "This Act (enacting this subchapter) shall apply with respect to elections taking place after December 31, 1985."


Section 1 of Pub. L. 98-435 provided that: "This Act (enacting this subchapter) may be cited as the 'Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act'."

Sec. 1973ee-1 Selection of polling facilities

(a) Accessibility to all polling places as responsibility of each political subdivision

Within each State, except as provided in subsection (b) of this section, each political subdivision responsible for conducting elections shall assure that all polling places for Federal elections are accessible to handicapped and elderly voters.

(b) Exception

Subsection (a) of this section shall not apply to a polling place -

(1) in the case of an emergency, as determined by the chief election officer of the State; or

(2) if the chief election officer of the State -

(A) determines that all potential polling places have been surveyed and no such accessible place is available, nor is the political subdivision able to make one temporarily accessible, in the area involved; and

(B) assures that any handicapped or elderly voter assigned to an inaccessible polling place, upon advance request of such voter (pursuant to procedures established by the chief election officer of the State) -

(i) will be assigned to an accessible polling place, or

(ii) will be provided with an alternative means for casting a ballot on the day of the election.

(c) Report to Federal Election Commission

(1) Not later than December 31 of each even-numbered year, the chief election officer of each State shall report to the Federal Election Commission, in a manner to be determined by the Commission, the number of accessible and inaccessible polling places in such State on the date of the preceding general Federal election, and the reasons for any instance of inaccessibility.

(2) Not later than April 30 of each odd-numbered year, the Federal Election Commission shall compile the information reported under paragraph (1) and shall transmit that information to the Congress.

(3) The provisions of this subsection shall only be effective for a period of 10 years beginning on September 28, 1984.

(Pub. L. 98-435, Sec. 3, Sept. 28, 1984, 98 Stat. 1678.)


This section is referred to in section 1973gg-4 of this title.

Sec. 1973ee-2 Selection of registration facilities

(a) Each State or political subdivision responsible for registration for Federal elections shall provide a reasonable number of accessible permanent registration facilities.

(b) Subsection (a) of this section does not apply to any State that has in effect a system that provides an opportunity for each potential voter to register by mail or at the residence of such voter.

(Pub. L. 98-435, Sec. 4, Sept. 28, 1984, 98 Stat. 1679.)

Sec. 1973ee-3 Registration and voting aids

(a) Printed instructions; telecommunications devices for the deaf

Each State shall make available registration and voting aids for Federal elections for handicapped and elderly individuals, including -

(1) instructions, printed in large type, conspicuously displayed at each permanent registration facility and each polling place; and

(2) information by telecommunications devices for the deaf.

(b) Medical certification

No notarization or medical certification shall be required of a handicapped voter with respect to an absentee ballot or an application for such ballot, except that medical certification may be required when the certification establishes eligibility, under State law -

(1) to automatically receive an application or a ballot on a continuing basis; or

(2) to apply for an absentee ballot after the deadline has passed.

(c) Notice of availability of aids

The chief election officer of each State shall provide public notice, calculated to reach elderly and handicapped voters, of the availability of aids under this section, assistance under section 1973aa-6 of this title, and the procedures for voting by absentee ballot, not later than general public notice of registration and voting is provided.

(Pub. L. 98-435, Sec. 5, Sept. 28, 1984, 98 Stat. 1679.)

Sec. 1973ee-4 Enforcement

(a) Action for declaratory or injunctive relief

If a State or political subdivision does not comply with this subchapter, the United States Attorney General or a person who is personally aggrieved by the noncompliance may bring an action for declaratory or injunctive relief in the appropriate district court.

(b) Prerequisite notice of noncompliance

An action may be brought under this section only if the plaintiff notifies the chief election officer of the State of the noncompliance and a period of 45 days has elapsed since the date of notification.

(c) Attorney fees

Notwithstanding any other provision of law, no award of attorney fees may be made with respect to an action under this section, except in any action brought to enforce the original judgment of the court.

(Pub. L. 98-435, Sec. 6, Sept. 28, 1984, 98 Stat. 1679.)

Sec. 1973ee-5 Relationship to Voting Rights Act of 1965

This subchapter shall not be construed to impair any right guaranteed by the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (42 U.S.C. 1973 et seq.).

(Pub. L. 98-435, Sec. 7, Sept. 28, 1984, 98 Stat. 1679.)


The Voting Rights Act of 1965, referred to in text, is Pub. L. 89-110, Aug. 6, 1965, 79 Stat. 437, as amended, which is classified generally to subchapters I-A (Sec. 1973 et seq.), I-B (Sec. 1973aa et seq.), and I-C (Sec. 1973bb et seq.) of this chapter. For complete classification of this Act to the Code, see Short Title note set out under section 1973 of this title and Tables.

Sec. 1973ee-6 Definitions

As used in this subchapter, the term -

(1) "accessible" means accessible to handicapped and elderly individuals for the purpose of voting or registration, as determined under guidelines established by the chief election officer of the State involved;

(2) "elderly" means 65 years of age or older;

(3) "Federal election" means a general, special, primary, or runoff election for the office of President or Vice President, or of Senator or Representative in, or Delegate or Resident Commissioner to, the Congress;

(4) "handicapped" means having a temporary or permanent physical disability; and

(5) "State" means a State of the United States, the District of Columbia, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, and any territory or possesssion (FOOTNOTE 1) of the United States.

(FOOTNOTE 1) So in original. Probably should be "possession".

(Pub. L. 98-435, Sec. 8, Sept. 28, 1984, 98 Stat. 1679.)



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Updated August 6, 2015

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