ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Voting may seem like an easy way to do your civic duty, but after years of spreading awareness, there are still challenges for people with disabilities.

“I like to vote because I like to do it,” Mark Seccombe said.

What You Need To Know

  • According to the American Civil Liberties Union, in 2020, over 11% of voters with disabilities reported that they faced some type of difficulty casting a ballot

  • In 2021, ACLU reports hundreds of anti-voter measures were introduced by states across the country such as restricting absentee voting, and eliminating election day registration

  • Mark Seccombe has developmental disabilities

  • He's been an active voter since he was 18

Seccombe has lived with developmental disabilities his whole life and it’s never stopped his passion for performing his civic duty. 

“I remember the first time I voted, my staff came in with me and was in the polls and voted,” he remembered.

Seccombe receives support while casting his ballot. For years, it’s something that’s been advocated for, however, there are still challenges for people with disabilities access to voting. 

“One of the most interesting things about it is that people don’t think of that when they think about all the access that we give for people with disabilities," said Dave Dean, senior director of community services at ArcWorks in Rochester. "They think about the curb cutouts, they think about the doors, they think about everything, but they don’t think about access to voting, which is really something that you do to participate fully in society."

Understanding early voting, voter registration deadlines and options to get to and from polling sites are just the start of the obstacles being addressed. Seccombe explained the most confusing part is trying to educate himself to make sure his vote is going to the candidate who represents him and his beliefs best. 

“I want to find out who I want to vote for,” Seccombe explained. “I watch it on TV. I watch on Spectrum News and find out,” he laughed.

“If we’re going to respect them and treat them as full, authentic folks, we need to give them a really broad, you know, picture of the political landscape and then let them decide what they... which candidate aligns with their vision more and those worthy,” Dean said.

Every election season looks different, but Seccombe said his passion for voting isn’t going anywhere. 

“I like to vote because it’s a good time to do it," he said.