ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC
The name of this company is ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC
Doors in Series Dimensions 2.png

ADAIN Blog

by Richard Acree of ADA Inspections Nationwide, LLC

What to do if Your Election Polling Place is not ADA Accessible

Election Polling Place

Election Polling Place

What should you do if you think your election polling place is not ADA accessible? First, you are not alone. This question comes up a lot.

The Government Accountability Office estimates that only 27% of polling places were accessible to people with disabilities in the 2008 elections. This means that 73% of the polling places used in 2008 had architectural barriers that made it difficult or even impossible for people with disabilities to enter their polling place and vote side by side with their neighbors. That is discrimination, and it is still happening!

In 2019 the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced a settlement with Harris County, Texas, regarding discrimination against disabled voters at their election polling places. Following an investigation that began with violations previously identified by the United States in its letter of September 29, 2014, and in its five expert reports sent on August 9, 2018, the United States brought a civil action against Harris County, Texas (“Harris County”), to enforce Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and Title II’s implementing regulation, 28 C.F.R. Part 35. The effective date of this settlement is March 12, 2019! It took over 4 years to complete this process!

So what can and should you do if you think your polling place is not ADA accessible? Well you have several options.

1. Contact your County Commissioner with your comment/complaint. Find your Commissioner on the County website. Realize that your Commissioner may not know the ADA laws, but he/she should know who your County ADA Coordinator is and can forward your comment/complaint to them and follow up with you on their response. Every County should have an ADA Coordinator.

2. If you prefer, you can also contact your County Elections Office/Supervisor with your comment/complaint. Again they should be listed on the County website, or just do an internet search. Realize that this individual is somewhat responsible for ADA compliance and may not be too happy to hear the comment or complaint.

3. Still not satisfied? To report complaints of possible ADA violations of the federal voting rights laws, you may contact the DOJ Voting Section at  www.justice.gov/crt/about/vot/misc/contact.php.   And you can contact the Voting Section though the DOJ toll free number (800-253-3931) or their email address (voting.section@usdoj.gov).

4. In each option above, it is important that you have a valid concern. If you are not sure that your election polling place is not ADA accessible, it may be wise to hire an ADA accessibility inspector, like ADAIN (615-752-0060), to look at the voting site for you. Since these are public places, anyone should be allowed in to see if there are issues with ADA accessibility. If you are not comfortable approaching your County Commissioner, the County ADA Coordinator, or the County Elections Supervisor, I can do that for you. Please call me at 615-752-0060 to discuss.