Historic Expansion of Accessible Voting Rights Advances


Historic Expansion of Accessible Voting Rights Advances;
Governor Sununu Signs into Law Measure Applying to all NH Elections

Concord, NH – For the first time ever, all New Hampshire voters, regardless of ability or disability, will have the opportunity to cast their ballots securely, privately, and independently in all elections, including municipal elections typically held in March for towns and in November for cities.

This historic expansion of accessible voting opportunities occurred today, when  Governor Chris Sununu signed House Bill 1264, which extends the availability of accessible voting machines to municipal elections. Until now, accessible voting was only available during federal and state elections.

Voters with disabilities, including those who are blind or vision impaired, have often been unable to exercise their right to vote independently, privately, and securely with a secret ballot due to a lack of accessible voting systems.

House Bill 1264, drafted and pushed through the legislature by Representatives Mark Paige (D-Exeter) and Robert Wherry (R-Hudson), creates an initial pilot program during which the Secretary of State will provide cities and towns with existing accessible voting machines, known as “one4all” systems, for local elections in 2025.

To ensure voting remains accessible after the pilot program ends, the pilot program also will provide time for municipalities to either purchase their own systems or to make other arrangements.

The one4all system uses a tablet, keyboard, headset, and printer to allow people of all abilities and disabilities to select their choices independently and privately on a tablet instead of on paper. After making their selections, voters can print out a completed paper ballot and give it to the clerk to submit along with everyone else’s ballot.

“Now those of us with vision and print disabilities will be able to vote independently and keep our votes private like everyone else.  For me, as a blind person, it’s empowering and exciting,” said Jean Shiner, of Exeter, a long-time voting rights advocate who helped bring awareness to this issue.

Representative Paige (D-Exeter) said “The secret ballot is a fundamental part of ensuring a strong democracy.”  “This bill sends the message that discriminating against voters with disabilities in local elections will no longer be tolerated,” he said.

Advocates from the NH Disability Rights Center and the NH Campaign for Voting Rights stated: “The fundamental rights of voters with disabilities in local elections have long been denied.  Today, that ends. We are thankful to our legislative champions and look forward to working with the state on a successful transition from the pilot program to a permanent fix so that all people, regardless of ability, can exercise their right to vote in all elections.”


Disability Rights Center – New Hampshire is a statewide non-profit organization dedicated to eliminating barriers for people with disabilities across New Hampshire. DRC is the federally designated protection and advocacy agency for New Hampshire and has authority under federal law to conduct investigations in cases of probable abuse or neglect.

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