1. All polling places must have accessible voting equipment set up and turned on when polls open.
Accessible voting equipment is required at every polling place regardless of your municipality’s population. It must be set up, turned on, and poll workers must be trained on how to use the equipment. Accessories like headphones and tactile keypads should be plugged in and ready to use when the polls open. Anyone can use accessible voting equipment. To ensure voters know that accessible voting equipment is available, offer it to each voter. It is recommended that election officials use the accessible voting equipment at their own polling place to cast their ballot in order to gain experience on the equipment and ensure it is functioning properly.
Please note that if your polling place uses the Dominion ImageCast Evolution, your machine serves a dual purpose as a ballot-marking accessible voting machine and a tabulator. If your ImageCast Evolution does not have the second screen for accessible voting sessions, the device can pause tabulation to serve as a ballot marking device for voters. Please include training for your poll workers so they are aware of the dual purpose of the equipment. Each polling place should have more than one election inspector who is able to start accessible voting sessions and return to the tabulation function.
For more information on accessible voting equipment, attend the Accessible Voting Equipment Best Practices webinar on Wednesday, October 5th from 10:00am-11:00am. Registration Link: https://us06web.zoom.us/webinar/register/WN_zvUAJunVTV2Y6CtVp5w2nQ
WEC staff will be partnering with members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee and local election officials to review the statutory requirements for accessible voting equipment and what those requirements look like in the polling place. This will include the standards for voter independence and privacy when using accessible voting equipment, poll workers’ responsibilities for ensuring voting at a polling place is accessible, and common courtesy for interacting with voters who have disabilities.
2. Be prepared for Polling Place Accessibility Reviews.
The WEC is continuing to send site reviewers to review polling places for ADA compliance. Polling places are chosen somewhat randomly, however priority is given to sites that have gone the longest without a review. Clerks will not be notified beforehand if their polling place has been chosen for review. Site reviewers will begin their visits by introducing themselves to the chief inspector. Then, they will complete their survey and follow up with the chief inspector before they leave. After about 60 days you will receive an email notifying you that your report is ready and providing further instructions.
3. Curbside voting is required and important for voters with disabilities and elderly voters.
Curbside voting is required by state statute for any voter who cannot enter the polling place due to a disability. Curbside voting should also be available during in-person absentee voting at the clerk’s office or alternate site.
Please prepare a plan for curbside voting at your polling place. Many clerks choose to have a sign with a phone number or a greeter outside to alert poll workers of a voter in need of curbside voting. Voters who vote curbside have confirmed that signage is beneficial to a successful voting experience. You can order a curbside voting sign from the Supply Program.
The process for conducting curbside voting is in the Election Day Manual pages 66-67. Please remember that all voters must provide a photo ID if they vote in person, and election officials should not remove the poll book from the polling place when administering a curbside ballot.
4. Use the WEC Accessibility Supply Program to increase the accessibility of your polling place.
The WEC Accessibility Supply Program allows clerks to order accessibility supplies to assist with curbside voting and other accessible voting items such as parking signs, signature guides, wireless doorbells, and cones free of charge. Please email all supply requests to @email at least a week in advance of the time they are needed. To find a complete list of supplies, look at the Accessibility Supplies Order Form.
Polling Place Set-Up Guide
The polling place set-up guide outlines basic information for setting up a polling place to allow voters with disabilities to participate in the election process without unnecessary assistance. The guide reviews the five polling place zones with tips to make them accessible.
Polling Place Set-Up Webinar (45 min.)
In the polling place set-up webinar WEC staff and members of the Accessibility Advisory Committee discuss voter’s rights, basic polling place set-up, and quick fixes to increase accessibility.
Election Day Accessibility Checklist
The Election Day Accessibility Checklist was created by Disability Rights Wisconsin to allow an election inspector to review the polling place quickly on Election Day to ensure that it is accessible. The checklist reviews various areas of the polling place as well as election inspector interactions with voters.
10 Most Common Accessibility Problems
This document details the most common accessibility problems reviewers identify on Election Day as well as solutions to these problems. Even if the Polling Place Set-Up Guide and Election Day Checklist are used to set up a polling place, this is still an excellent resource to double check that requirements have been met.
Quick Fix Guide
The Quick Fix Guide highlights common accessibility issues and easy and/or low-cost ways to eliminate barriers. This is a great tool to use to supplement the polling place set-up guide and the election day accessibility checklist.
Common Sense and Common Courtesy
The Common Sense and Common Courtesy document provides guidelines for interacting with voters with disabilities. Since everyone is different, all of these guidelines may not apply to every interaction you have. It is most important to be respectful and ensure voters with disabilities are able to exercise their right to vote without any barriers.