Justice Department Reaches Agreement with Sandoval County, New Mexico, to Ensure Accessible Voting
This Settlement is part of the Justice Department’s ADA Voting Initiative
The Department of Justice today reached a settlement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with Sandoval County, New Mexico, to ensure that the County’s polling places are accessible during elections to individuals with mobility and vision impairments.
The Department of Justice surveyed and assessed the County’s voting program for compliance with the ADA. The Department’s survey identified architectural barriers at County polling places, including inaccessible parking, ramps that were too steep, and doorways with thresholds that were too high. Under the ADA, counties that conduct local, state, or federal elections may not select polling places that are inaccessible during elections to individuals with disabilities. The County is home to thirteen Pueblos and Tribal Entities, and one dozen County polling places are located on tribal lands.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Sandoval County will begin remediating its voting program in time for its next election. To make its selected polling places accessible, the County will employ temporary measures, such as portable ramps, signage, and propped open doors, as well as certain permanent changes, such as paved parking and ramps. In addition, the County will train its poll workers on the requirements of the ADA and how to use temporary measures to ensure each polling place is accessible during elections. The County will also survey polling locations for accessibility and maintain the accessibility of each polling place it uses on Election Day. When selecting future polling places, the agreement requires the County to select locations that will be accessible during elections. The Department of Justice will monitor the County’s compliance with the agreement and provide the County with technical assistance.
“This agreement reflects the Department’s continued commitment, through its ADA Voting Initiative, to ensuring that every eligible voter with a disability has an equal opportunity to vote in person at his or her local polling place,” said Assistant Attorney General Eric Dreiband for the Civil Rights Division. “This fundamental right secures participation in our democracy and must not be diminished or restricted by barriers to access. We commend the County’s commitment to guaranteeing that eligible voters with disabilities have equal access to the polls.”
“A disability should never stand as an impediment to a citizen exercising the fundamental right to vote in our democracy,” said U.S. Attorney John C. Anderson. “This settlement ensures polling places in Sandoval County will be accessible to all eligible voters.”
This settlement is part of the Department’s ADA Voting Initiative, which focuses on protecting the voting rights of individuals with disabilities. A hallmark of the ADA Voting Initiative is its collaboration with jurisdictions to increase accessibility at polling places. Through this Initiative, the Department of Justice has surveyed more than 1,600 polling places and increased polling place accessibility in more than 35 jurisdictions, including Coconino County, Arizona; McKinley County, New Mexico; Harris County, Texas; Chicago, Illinois; and Richland County, South Carolina.
For more information about the ADA and today’s agreement, please visit http://www.ada.gov or call the toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY).