Basic Guide to Polling Place Accessibility

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Disability Rights Texas Handout

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A Basic Guide to Polling Place Accessibility

This is a basic guide to accessibility to assist in identifying barriers and potential solutions to ensure access to voters with disabilities. Election officials should try to select fully accessible polling places and conduct the full Department of Justice accessibility survey available at www.ada.gov/votingck.htm.

Parking and Drop-Off Areas

  • If parking is provided, at least one accessible parking spot that is nearest to the accessible entrance must be provided for every 25 regular parking spaces.
  • The first accessible spot should be van accessible with an access aisle at least 8ft wide.
  • Accessible parking spots should be relatively level and not have loose gravel or dirt.
  • If drop-off area is provided, it should be level and have an access aisle that is at least 5ft deep and 20ft long where people can access entrance (near ramp if necessary).
  • Solutions: Traffic cones can be used to mark accessible parking spaces and access aisles. Heavy duty mats can be used to level out uneven surfaces.

Paths of Travel

  • There must be an accessible path from parking spot to entrance and voting area.
  • Path must be at least 36 inches wide and free of steps or level changes more than ½ inch.
  • If accessible path crosses traffic, a marked crosswalk should be used.
  • Where path crosses curb, a curb cut or temporary ramp should be used.
  • Ramps can’t be steep. For every 1 inch high, a ramp must be at least 12 inches long.

Preventing Obstructions for Voters Who are Blind or Have Low Vision

  • People who are blind can easily run into objects that hang from above (like tree limbs), are open beneath (like staircases), or protrude from the side (like trophy cases).
  • Solution: Place a barrier within 27 inches of the floor so cane can detect the obstruction.

Entrance to Polling Place and Voting Area

  • Doorways must be at least 32 inches wide.
  • Threshold must not be more than ¾ inches high at door and must be beveled on each side.
  • No heavy doors.
  • No slick, round door handles.
  • Solutions: If door is too heavy to open easily, adjust door closer, disconnect operating arm, or prop door open on Election Day. If smooth round handles are on door, use temporary hardware or prop door open. If threshold is two high, use temporary threshold ramp on each side that is too high.

Voting Area

  • An accessible voting machine on wheelchair accessible booth should be located along an accessible path in a location that ensures privacy.

For help, call Disability Rights Texas’ Voting Hotline at 1-888-796-VOTE (8683).


Last updated: August 28, 2020
Publication Code: HA09

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Statewide Intake: 1-800-252-9108
Sign Language Video Phone: 1-866-362-2851
Purple 2 Video Phone: 512-271-9391
Online Intake available 24/7: intake.DRTx.org

Disclaimer: Disability Rights Texas strives to update its materials on an annual basis, and this handout is based upon the law at the time it was written. The law changes frequently and is subject to various interpretations by different courts. Future changes in the law may make some information in this handout inaccurate.

The handout is not intended to and does not replace an attorney’s advice or assistance based on your particular situation.

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