DOJ Issues Guidance on Ballot Drop Box Accessibility Requirements Under the ADA
By PVA Staff
The Department of Justice (DOJ) has issued guidance under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) on how to ensure that ballot drop boxes are accessible to voters with disabilities. The publication, “Ballot Drop Box Accessibility, the Americans with Disabilities Act,” is intended to help election officials understand the ADA’s requirements, including the physical accessibility standards applicable to ballot drop boxes, and for voters with disabilities to understand their rights under federal law.
The publication covers the elements and features of a ballot drop box that election officials should consider to meet the ADA’s accessibility requirements. Specifically, it discusses accessibility features of a ballot drop box such as a handle or lever that can be operated with one hand and without tight grasping, pinching, or twisting of the wrist. It also covers the requirements for an accessible route to a ballot drop box, such as a level walkway without gaps and steps. Finally, the guidance includes a checklist of the accessibility standards used to assess a ballot drop box.
DOJ intends the guidance to be used with the “ADA Checklist for Polling Places,” a guidance document that discusses local governments’ obligations under the ADA to provide polling places that are physically accessible to voters with disabilities. The ADA Checklist for Polling Places covers the accessibility requirements for features that may be present at a ballot drop box location, such as parking, passenger drop off areas, and building entrances.
Those interested in learning more about the ADA may call DOJ’s toll-free information line at 800-514-0301 or 800-514-0383 (TDD), or access its ADA website at www.ada.gov. ADA complaints may be filed online. Information about the department’s enforcement of federal civil and criminal laws related to voting may be found here.