Advocacy Update

GAO Releases Report on Polling Place Accessibility in 2016 Election
Polling Place Data

From: National Council on Independent Living 11/7/2017

Last week, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released a report detailing the accessibility and barriers to access at polling places in the 2016 elections. This report, which the GAO has produced after other presidential elections, found that:

  • Of all 178 polling places, 60 percent had one or more potential impediments outside the polling place, with the most common being steep ramps, lack of signage to indicate accessible paths, and poor parking or path surfaces.
  • Of the 137 polling places where the GAO was able to examine the interior polling stations, 65 percent had a polling station with an accessible voting system that could impede the casting of a private and independent ballot.

This report shows that although many laws, such as the Help America Vote Act and the Americans with Disabilities Act, continue to require accessibility of polling places, compliance with those laws is still often lacking, and there are still many potential barriers to casting a fully private and independent ballot for people with disabilities. These findings indicate that advocacy is still needed on all levels of government to educate election officials about making polling places accessible for people with disabilities.

Access the full GAO report, VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES Observations on Polling Place Accessibility and Related Federal Guidance (PDF), at

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