Details and Best Practices
Federal and state law requires an accessible voting system to be present at each polling place for every election. The machine/system should be tested before each election to ensure that it is functioning properly. The machine/system should be set up in a clearly visible location in the voting area, so that voters will know that it is available for use. If the machine/system is not functioning properly on Election Day, election workers should be sure to contact their municipal clerk immediately and work with their county or vendor to remedy the problem.
Accessible voting equipment should be set up on a table or stand that meets ADA guidelines. The entrance to this table or stand should be at least 30” wide and the height from the floor to the underside of the table or stand must be a minimum of 27”. There should also be at least 19” of knee/toe clearance under the table so that a voter in a wheelchair will have access to the machine.
In addition, there should also be at least 30 x 48” of clear floor space in front of the table or stand holding the accessible voting equipment. The height of the controls for the machine or the touch screen must be no higher than 54” for a parallel approach or 48” for a forward approach (figure 2).
The accessible voting machine should always be set up, turned on and functioning properly on Election Day. Voters who wish to use the machine should not have to wait for an election official to set-up, plug in or insert an ink cartridge or memory device into the machine. Error messages like the one pictured below indicate that the accessible voting machine requires troubleshooting or service from a technician (figure 3).
(figure 3) (figure 4)
Accessible voting machines should also be positioned to ensure voter privacy. The machine pictured in the below left photo has a privacy hood attached to it but is set up in a way where others could see how a voter who is using the machine was marking their ballot (figure 5).
The accessible voting machine should also be visible to all voters when they enter the voting area. This may be a challenge at facilities with smaller voting areas. The machines should not be located in separate rooms such as bathrooms or kitchen areas or in a location that is out of plain sight from voters, like the machine pictured in the below right photo located in the corner of a storage area behind a filing cabinet (figure 6).
(figure 5) (figure 6)
Voting equipment should also be positioned with 30 x 48” clear floor space in front of the machine to ensure proper access. In the below photo, access to the machine is obstructed by the popcorn cart placed directly behind it (figure 7).