Polling locations in Ohio must be accessible to voters with any type of disability, for example, mobility, hearing or visual impairment, or cognitive limitation. Examples of common problems are a lack of accessible parking spaces; gravel parking lots and paths to the building; and lack of ramps or accessible door handles.
Check your polling place accessibility before Election Day
Voters with disabilities should make sure that their polling places are accessible before they vote on Election Day. Voters with disabilities should:
- Know where to vote. Polling locations can and do change. You can search the Secretary of State's website to find your polling location.
- Review the accessibility of your polling location. Go from the parking area or bus stop, into the building and to the room where you will vote. Note any accessibility problems.
- Make a complaint about access problems or other voting rights violations. You can make a complaint about polling place accessibility and other voting rights violations to the Disability Rights Ohio Intake Department. The mission of Disability Rights Ohio is to protect and advocate, in partnership with people with disabilities, for their human, civil and legal rights, including voting rights.
Get further involved to assure equal access
- Review the "Polling Place Accessibility Checklist" for your polling location. The Secretary of State requires that all Boards use the same Checklist to determine accessibility. County Boards of Elections must complete a checklist for each polling location, must keep these checklists on file and make them available to anyone who asks. You can find your Board of Elections on the Secretary of State's website.
- Ask if your polling location receives or requested federal funds for accessibility. These funds are used by the County Board to make your polling place accessible on Election Day. If the Board received funding, find out what temporary modifications you can expect on Election Day.
- Compare your review of your polling location with the Board's review. Think about any temporary modifications that will be made on Election Day. You may not agree with the Board of Elections' decision about polling location accessibility.
- Make a complaint. Any time you think that a polling location has access problems, you can make a complaint to the Disability Rights Ohio Intake Department.
Expand your review beyond your polling location
- Review the accessibility of other polling locations besides the place where you vote. Advocacy groups and civic organizations can undertake accessibility reviews to assure that everyone has equal access to polling places.
Resources on polling location access
The Secretary of State issued a Directive to ensure that every polling location is fully accessible to voters with disabilities. The purposes of the Secretary's Directive (No. 2008-44) are to:
- reaffirm to Boards of Elections that they are required to meet the accessibility requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and other federal and state laws that require equal access to polling places.
- require Boards to complete a "Polling Place Accessibility Checklist" for each polling location. Boards must keep these checklists on file, and make them available to anyone who asks.
- require Boards to file signed statements with the Secretary of State verifying that each polling location is accessible, including accessible parking.
- tell Boards that federal funds are available to make polling locations accessible. Boards can apply for grants through the Secretary of State's ADA Coordinator.
- tell Boards that the Secretary of State's ADA Coordinator and Regional Liaisons are available to help Boards of Elections with assessments of their polling place accessibility.
Links to resources:
- Ohio Secretary of State
- U.S. Department of Justice: ADA Checklist for Polling Places
- Disability Rights Ohio: Voting section
Contact Disability Rights Ohio
You can make a complaint about polling place accessibility and other voting rights violations to the Disability Rights Ohio Intake Department. The mission of Disability Rights Ohio is to protect and advocate, in partnership with people with disabilities, for their human, civil and legal rights, including voting rights. To contact Disability Rights Ohio:
Phone: 614-466-7264 or 1-800-282-9181 (toll-free in Ohio only)
TTY: 614-728-2553 or 1-800-858-3542
Write: Intake Department, 50 West Broad Street, Suite 1400, Columbus, Ohio 43215-5923