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Sixty Percent of Polling Places Have Accessibility Issues

Information courtesy of the Government Accountability Office

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) has released a new report on polling place accessibility. GAO examined 178 polling places during early in-person voting and on Election Day 2016, and found that 60% had at least one accessibility problem. The most common were steep ramps, lack of signs indicating accessible paths, and poor parking or path surfaces.  GAO examined voting stations at 137 of the polling places. Of the stations examined, 65% had accessibility issues that could prevent people with disabilities from voting privately and independently.

During the study, officials from four states said that their state laws do not require accessible voting systems be provided during early voting. While federal law generally requires all polling places for federal elections to be accessible to all voters, the Department of Justice’s guidance does not clearly specify how certain federal accessibility requirements apply to early in-person voting.  As a result of the study, GAO recommends that the Department of Justice study how federal accessibility requirements are being implemented during early in-person voting and, if necessary, make changes to existing guidance.

Read the full report here (pdf). For questions or more information, contact Barbara Bovbjerg at BovbjergB@gao.gov or Rebecca Gambler at
GamblerR@gao.gov.

Doug Schmidt
Director of Communications
The Fifth Freedom Network