10/29/2012 12:08 pm ET Updated Dec 27, 2012

Disability Vote Could Decide Election

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, "Nearly one in five people in the U.S. have a disability."

This includes people like my son, Roman Reed, paralyzed 17 years from a college football accident. It might include you, or someone you love.

This is an enormous bloc of voters, increasingly politicized -- in 2008 they voted at roughly the same percentage as able-bodied folks -- and they generally vote Democratic.

A massive disability turnout could easily decide the election.

But will people with disabilities actually turn out and vote? Do they know their rights, what assistance is available to them?

Do you?

If not, please check out the following from

Voting information for People with Disabilities

Your Right to Vote
If you are a person with a disability and understand what it means to vote, Federal law guarantees you the right to vote in an accessible way. This right is held by people with hearing, visual, intellectual, psychiatric, mobility, speech and other disabilities.

Sample Ballot
Before voting, learn what candidates and issues are on the ballot in your area. Visit [1] for a convenient feature that gives you personalized voter information after entering your mailing address.

Polling Place
Learn the location and hours of the polling place assigned to you. [1] Make a plan for how to get there. Go with a friend to share the experience.

Early Voting
Many states have some polling places open before Election Day. Find out when and where early voting is available in your area. Visit [2] and take advantage of the opportunity to vote before the crowd on November 6.

Voter ID
All states require an individual to be a U.S. citizen in order to vote. Each state requires its residents to provide some form of identification. Each state selects the form of ID it deems acceptable. Bring multiple forms of identification with you to your polling place. This could include a voter registration card, driver's license, other government ID, or at least a utility bill that confirms your name and address. The more forms of ID you bring, the better.

States requiring government-issued photo ID:
Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Tennessee

States where photo ID law is blocked but we must still prepare:
Alabama, Mississippi, South Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania

Personal Assistance
If you need help voting because of your disability, you can have someone help you vote. You can bring a friend, family member, or another person you trust. You can also ask a poll worker for help.

Curbside Voting
If a polling place is physically inaccessible to you, you can request curbside voting. You would come close to the building, and a poll worker would bring you the ballot.

Mobile Polling
If you live in a nursing home, assisted living community, or other long-term care residence, ask whether mobile polling is available. Poll workers would come to your location with ballots for the people there.

Provisional Ballot
If a poll worker says you are ineligible to vote, you still have a right to a provisional ballot. Later, an election worker will determine whether you are eligible. If so, your vote will be counted.