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DISABILITY PROGRAM FOR DISABLED, SENIOR CITIZENS & RESIDENTS OF NURSING OR VETERANS' HOMES

Act 436 of 2009, effective Jan. 1, 2010 brought a lot of new and improved changes for voting by the physically disabled, senior citizens, and residents of a nursing or veterans' home.

Voting Rights for Senior Citizens and Individuals with Disabilities provides comprehensive information on the program in Louisiana.

Louisiana has a new automatic absentee by mail ballot process for the disabled and senior citizens, referred to as the Disability Program. Once an eligible voter applies for the program and the application is accepted by the registrar of voters, an absentee by mail ballot Senior Citizen Programwill automatically be sent to the voter for each election. The automatic mail ballot process will stop if a mail ballot is returned to the registar of voters as undeliverable. A voter may choose to stop the automatic mail ballot process by writing their parish registrar of voters. If a voter chooses to vote in person instead of voting their absentee by mail ballot, the program will continue; however, a person may vote only once, either by mail or in person.

The Disability Program also includes an automatic early voting process for residents in nursing or veterans' homes. Once an eligible resident applies for the program and the application is accepted by the registrar of voters, the registrar will notify the voter and go to the nursing or veterans' home to allow the resident to vote early for each election. Voting will be conducted either by paper ballot or voting machine. The automatic early voting process will stop when the voter is no longer a resident of the nursing or veterans' home.

Prior Program Participants

A person who lives at home or in a nursing home and who prior to Jan. 1, 2010 was approved by the parish board of election supervisors as being eligible to participate in the Special Program for Handicapped Voters as such program existed, is grandfathered in to the new Disability Program. To start the automatic mail ballot process, a prior program participant must send an application to vote absentee by mail to the parish registrar of voters. No other documentation is required.

New Participants (Senior Citizens, Disabled or Homebound) 

Senior citizens who are 65 years of age or older and who have previously voted in the parish may apply for the Senior Citizen Program to receive the mail ballot automatically for each election. To start the automatic mail ballot process, send an application to vote absentee by mail to the parish registrar of voters.

A person who is physically disabled or who cannot appear in person to vote early in the Registrar of Voters' Office or in the polling place on election day (homebound) may apply for the Disability Program.  To start the automatic mail ballot process, send an application to vote absentee by mail to the parish registrar of voters. You must also send proof of disability of at least one of the following:

  • a copy of a current mobility impaired identification card issued by the Office of Motor Vehicles;
  • a copy of current social security disability benefits, veteran’s disability benefits, paratransit services, benefits from the Office for Citizens with Developmental Disabilities or benefits from Louisiana Rehabilitation Services; or
  • a completed physician’s form certifying that the voter is homebound.

If applying by mail, you must also send a copy of a photo ID (La. driver's license, La. special ID or other photo ID with name and signature) or if no photo ID, submit a letter listing the names and addresses of two persons residing in your precinct who could make oath to the fact that you are physically disabled.

New Participants who are Nursing or Veterans' Home Residents

A resident of a nursing or veterans' home may apply for the Disability Program by writing a letter to their parish registrar of voters, signed by the person or marked with one witness to their mark, stating their name and the address of the nursing or veterans' home. The letter must include a completed physician’s form which certifies that they are homebound.

To start the automatic early voting process, the resident must also send an application to vote absentee by mail to the parish registrars of voters. The registrar of voters will notify the resident of the day and time that they will go to the nursing or veterans' home for early voting for each election.

If applying by mail, you must also submit a copy of a photo ID (La. driver's license, La. special ID or other photo ID with name and signature) or if no photo ID, submit a letter listing the names and addresses of two persons residing in your precinct who could make oath to the fact that you are physically disabled.