Accessible Voting

Elections Alberta strives to make voting accessible for all electors, by locating voting places throughout the province, providing barrier free access to voting places and returning offices, offering multiple voting options , and providing accessibility tools at voting places. Electors may also bring their own devices to use at a voting place to assist them to read or mark a ballot. Watch our video on how we make voting accessible and learn more below.

Barrier-Free Access

Elections Alberta selects voting locations with accessibility in mind. We work to ensure that as many voting locations as possible provide or can be modified to provide barrier-free access.

When determining if a site is barrier-free the following criteria must be met:

  • At least one accessible parking spot must be available in reasonable proximity to the voting place entry;
  • The surface of the parking area must be firm and level;
  • Pathways to the building , ramps and any interior corridors must be at least 36 inches wide;
  • Doorways must be at least 32 inches wide and equipped with easy open devices or have available staff to open the doors for electors;
  • The entrance to the building must be accessible by a level pathway or via ramp;
  • Provided ramps must be free of a steep incline, have anon-slip surface and provide a smooth transition from the pathway to the ramp;
  • All pathways, hallways, and the voting room must free of protruding object; and
  • The room used for voting must be accessible either by an exterior door, via level access or an elevator or ramp when level access cannot be provided.

Information on the accessibility of voting locations is included on Where to Vote Cards and newspaper advertisements. When locations are deemed to be not accessible, additional information will be available on the Where to Vote website regarding the reasons the site not accessible.

Electors that are unable to access their assigned voting place on Election Day may:

  • Choose form any of our advance locations, which may provide better accessibility;
  • Vote at their local returning office on any day during the election period; or
  • Request a special ballot by mail, to vote from anywhere.

Visual Support

Elections Alberta offers reasonable accommodation to voters with a visual impairment. We allow for electors to vote independently; to vote with or without the use of assistive tools; or, to vote with help provided by a family member, a friend, or an election officer.

We provide:

  • A large-print ballot;
  • The use of a Canadian National Institute of Blind (CNIB) magnifying sheet; or,
  • The use of a voting template.

We encourage electors to bring their own assistive tools – if their use does not disrupt other voters or the secrecy of the vote. For example, you can use your cell phone camera to provide light or magnification, or other supportive applications on your device that can provide specific assistance.

Support With Reading or Marking the Ballot

Electors that need help to read or mark the ballot may be assisted by the election officer at the voting location or may bring a friend or family member to assist them.

All persons providing assistance must take an oath that they will:

  • Mark the ballot as directed by the elector, and
  • Maintain the secrecy of the elector’s choice.

Voter Assist Terminal

Voter Assist Terminals will be available at select advance voting locations. The voter assist terminal is an electronic ballot marker that may be used by electors needing assistance to read or mark a ballot. Locations equipped with a voter assist terminal will be advertised on Where to Vote Cards, newspaper advertisements and on the Where to Vote website.

The voter assist terminal marks the same paper ballot that is used by all electors at an advance voting location. After being issued a ballot, electors wishing to use the voter assist terminal will bring their ballot to the terminal and insert it, then select the assistive feature they require.

The voter assist terminal offers the following assistive features:

  • Adjustable LCD touchscreen with high contrast mode and screen privacy mode;
  • Rubber-textured directional hardware arrows and buttons with Braille text;
  • Audio jack with headphones for audio ballot and instructions; and
  • ADA dual switch access (DSA) port, compatible with elector’s assistive devices such as sip-and-puff

A rocker paddle, with “yes/select” and “no/XX” input paddles is also available at all voting locations equipped with a voter assist terminal.

Voters using the voter assist terminal will receive on screen prompts or audio instruction throughout the process to assist them to mark their ballot. Once marked, the ballot is returned to the elector so they can confirm that it was marked as they intended. The elector will then bring the ballot to the tabulator at the voting location, where it will be inserted and counted, preserving the secrecy of their vote.

Language Support

Elections Alberta provides translated information on the voting process, eligibility to vote, how to mark a ballot and voting options in 27 languages. See Assistance in Your Language for the available translated voting guides. All voting locations will have a printed copy of these guides as well as printed elector eligibility posters and voting instructions in the 27 languages.

Where we cannot offer a specific translation, we depend on your local community for support. Sometimes this means we rely on the people we have hired to speak the same language as you. Other times, this means we rely on your family or friends to translate for you.