REQUIRING ACCESSIBLE POLLING PLACES
Polling sites are required to be accessible. Voters with disabilities or older voters may require removal of barriers at polling or registration sites in order to make the voting program accessible to them. Below are some links for more information:
If a voter cannot access a polling place because of physical barriers, there is no way that the “voting system” is accessible and provides for the same opportunity for access and participation to persons with disabilities as for other voters. Therefore, precincts must provide access on a permanent or temporary basis on Election Day. Curbside voting, voting assistance, and absentee voting, as explained below, offer options that persons with disabilities may use to vote, but are not considered substitutes actual accessibility to the voting location.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections has:
- Surveyed and photographed every North Carolina polling place as to accessibility needs.
- Made grants county boards of elections to improve accessibility based upon these surveys.
- Posted on this website, for use by voters, pictures of every polling place in North Carolina in regards to pathways to, accessibility from outside, and accessibility within the each polling site. Voters can access these pictures by going to the Voter Tools section of the site and and select the polling place lookup tool located in the left-hand menu where you can enter your address to find your information.
Please report any accessibility problems at polling sites that you may encounter to your county board of elections office.
Obtaining Accommodations as to the Voting Procedure
Voters may need accommodations for a mental, aged or physical condition when actually registering to vote or casting a ballot on a voting system.
Assistance to voters from the voter’s close family members is allowed as to
- Entering the voting booth
- Preparing the ballot
- Exiting the voter booth
A voter in any of the following four categories is entitled to assistance from a person of the voter's choice, other than the voter's employer or agent of that employer or an officer or agent of the voter's union:
- A voter who, on account of physical disability, is unable to enter the voting booth without assistance.
- A voter who, on account of physical disability, is unable to mark a ballot without assistance.
- A voter who, on account of illiteracy, is unable to mark a ballot without assistance.
- A voter who, on account of blindness, is unable to enter the voting booth or mark a ballot without assistance.
Curbside voting is an option offered at each polling location where a voter can vote while in a vehicle outside the polling location. This includes all one-stop absentee (early voting) sites. A curbside voter has same rights to assistance as any other voter. Information as to curbside voting can be obtained from your county board of elections.
Voting a mail-in absentee ballot at home is another option used by elderly and disabled voters. Contact your county board of elections as to how to obtain a mail-in absentee ballot.
Both federal law and state requirements mandate that voting systems be equipped for voters with disabilities, which allows such voters to have the same opportunity for access and participation as non-disabled voters have. It is required that every precinct must have at least one accessible voting machine available for use by voters with special needs. This includes all one-stop absentee (early voting) sites.
Direct Record Electronic (DRE) touchscreen voting machines offered audio cue capacity for visually impaired that allows the machine to mark the electronic ballot based upon the voter’s instructions. The DRE machine will also produce an oral report to the voter as the choices selected prior to the voter casting the ballot.
Optical Scan voting systems where marked paper ballots are submitted into a tabulator by the voter can use paper ballots marked for the voter by AutoMark marking devises that also use audio cue capacity for visually impaired. The AutoMark also has a feature that will greatly magnify the ballot for voters that have limited visual impairment. This is a page on how to use the AutoMark in the back of this voter guide. The AutoMark will also produce an oral report to the voter as the choices selected prior to the voter casting the ballot.
The North Carolina State Board of Elections is committed to making voting as accessible for all elderly and disabled voters. Please let us know how we can improve such accessibility by calling us at (866) 522-4723 (toll free) or (919) 733-7173. You may also e-mail us at firstname.lastname@example.org .