12. States should survey and audit polling places to determine their accessibility.

The Commission recommended that states survey and audit polling places to determine their accessibility. Of our ten states, Colorado, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and Florida require an accessibility checklist to be completed for each polling center prior to an election. Florida's Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) polling place survey checklist is the most detailed with 65 factors, 12 diagrams, and two comment boxes. Of the other states requiring accessibility audits, Colorado's survey contains 28 factors, two diagrams, and two comment boxes; Louisiana's survey contains 53 factors, eight diagrams, and 0 comments boxes; and Pennsylvania's survey contains 25 factors, 0 diagrams, and one comment box.188

The remaining six states -- Alaska, Arkansas, Georgia, Kentucky, Michigan, and North Carolina -- require polling places to meet accessibility standards, but do not have statewide statutory polling place accessibility survey or audit requirements. However, election authorities in Arkansas, North Carolina, Michigan, and Alaska say they do their own accessibility surveys. In Arkansas, the Secretary of State's office reports that as a result of a litigation settlement agreement, the State Board of Election Commissioners must survey every polling site after every general election to ensure compliance with accessibility standards. In North Carolina, the State Board of Elections has surveyed and photographed each polling place and posts pictures of polling place entrances and layouts online. Moreover, according to the North Carolina Board of Elections, state officials perform accessibility audits on a periodic basis and require counties to meet ADA standards for their voting sites. In 2010, the Michigan Bureau of Elections coordinated with the Michigan Protection & Advocacy Service to survey each polling location in the state; Michigan also employs an election specialist dedicated to polling place accessibility. The Alaska Division of Elections conducts statewide surveys of polling places to check for compliance with the ADA, but does not offer any details regarding the frequency or extent of the program online. However, its Division of Elections' director explained that the state follows ADA requirements and has a survey it uses when securing polling places.198 It is Alaska's policy to use ADA-compliant public facilities before agreeing to use private buildings. However, there are circumstances in rural Alaska that limit the number of public facilities available for use.

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