Concept: Universal Polling Place

Voting in person

Polling places enhanced to increase flexibility for a variety of disabilities and accommodations

Universal Polling Place poster

Presentation poster for the Universal Polling Place concept

About this concept

The text that follows describes the concept presentation poster.

This concept is for a pilot project to develop the universal polling place. Certain voting centers would be enhanced to feature increased flexibility. These voting centers would most importantly be accommodating for the diversity and variety of disabilities and needs. The goal and intent is to provide a universal voting experience while keeping it convenient and cost effective. Aspects such as worker and voter training, location, accessible utilities, ballot types, language (including sign language) accommodations, early voting, and longer hours. This concept also emphasizes the need to measure evaluation and collect qualitative as well as quantitative data to implement improvements across centers. The idea here is to learn as well as to serve, and remember that one size indeed does not fit all.

The universal polling place project would include:

  • Accommodation for diversity of needs
  • Poll worker training, including longer hours of training
  • Accessible utilities (rest rooms)
  • Early voting
  • Language and sign language
  • Availability of different ballot types and formats
  • Convenience of location
  • Evaluation, data, & research

 Universal design principles in this project

1. Equitable Use: The design is useful and marketable to people with diverse abilities.

  • Provide the same means of use for all users: identical whenever possible; equivalent when not.
  • Avoid segregating or stigmatizing any users.
  • Provisions for privacy, security, and safety should be equally available to all users.
  • Make the design appealing to all users.

2. Flexibility: The design accommodates a wide range of individual preferences and abilities.

  • Provide choice in methods of use.
  • Accommodate right- or left-handed access and use.
  • Facilitate the user’s accuracy and precision.
  • Provide adaptability to the user’s pace.

3. Simple and Intuitive: Use of the design is easy to understand, regardless of the user’s experience, knowledge, language skills, or current concentration level. \

  • Eliminate unnecessary complexity.
  • Be consistent with user expectations and intuition.
  • Accommodate a wide range of literacy and language skills.
  • Arrange information consistent with its importance.
  • Provide effective prompting and feedback during and after task completion.

4. Perceptible Information: The design communicates necessary information effectively to the user, regardless of ambient conditions or the user’s sensory abilities.

  • Use different modes (pictorial, verbal, tactile) for redundant presentation of essential information.
  • Provide adequate contrast between essential information and its surroundings.
  • Maximize “legibility” of essential information.
  • Differentiate elements in ways that can be described (i.e., make it easy to give instructions or directions).
  • Provide compatibility with a variety of techniques or devices used by people with sensory limitations.

5. Tolerance for Error: The design minimizes hazards and the adverse consequences of accidental or unintended actions.

  • Arrange elements to minimize hazards and errors: most used elements, most accessible; hazardous elements eliminated, isolated, or shielded.
  • Provide warnings of hazards and errors.
  • Provide fail safe features.
  • Discourage unconscious action in tasks that require vigilance.

6. Low Physical Effort: The design can be used efficiently and comfortably, and with a minimum of fatigue.

  • Allow user to maintain a neutral body position.
  • Use reasonable operating forces.
  • Minimize repetitive actions.
  • Minimize sustained physical effort.

7. Size and Space for Approach and Use: Appropriate size and space is provided for approach, reach, manipulations and use regardless of user’s body size, posture or mobility.

  • Provide a clear line of sight to important elements for any seated or standing user.
  • Make reach to all components comfortable for any seated or standing user.
  • Accommodate variations in hand and grip size.
  • Provide adequate space for the use of assistive devices or personal assistance

Additional materials for this concept

Notes from wall

SIgnage is important. It's an issue for everyone, not just for disabled. Could solve other problems, too. Signs like "vote here" create flow.

Notes from wall

Separate is not equal. If one group has a line, and the other has a long line, are the options equal? Voters standing in line think, "How long will I have to wait?" (A sticky note says "Spacing" and shows circles arranged with space between them.)

Notes from wall

Contextual Balloting: Borrow from: Apple, Meals on Wheels, Book Mobiles

Notes from wall

The polling environment - space and flow: Improve the flow in the polling place. A cartoon shows an area "easy waiting room" . That leads to a line of people spaced at the registration table, leading to a place to cast their vote. (Make the flow smoother)

This concept was created at the Accessible Elections Design Workshop in February 2012