Welcome everyone to the March ADA audio conference series. For those of you happy St. Patrick's Day out there. The ADA, this program is brought to you by the ADA National Network, funded by the U.S. department of health and human services, administration on community living, national institute and disability independent living and rehabilitation research. The ADA audio conference is the longest running educational program of the network, we are pleased that you are able to join us today. You can locate the regional ADA center that serves your state by visiting ADA TA.org, you can give your center a call at 800‑949‑4232. We are glad that you are here with us today. We have great information and a wonderful speaker to bring that information to you, it is timely. We are in the midst of primary season and more importantly, we have a big general election in the fall. And ensuring that people with disabilities have access to polling facilities and the ability to cast votes independently, as all other Americans, is critical. We are pleased to have with us Julie Brinkhoff, the co‑director and principal investigator with the Great Plains ADA center, another of the ten regional ADA centers. They are located, great plans ADA center is located at the University of Missouri ‑‑ Great Plains.
There will be time for questions, for participants to ask questions, those of you in the webinar room you can submit your questions while the session is ongoing. We will get to those once Julie has gone through her presentation. Thanks again for joining us, everyone today. At this time, I would like to welcome Julie and turn it over to you.
Thanks!! Excuse me. I have allergy, so I'll just make that clear right now.
A little bit of coughing. I'm being joined by Mike Edwards, who has considerable experience with surveying polling places. He is here to help me out with the facility part of this. I want to say that the same ADA requirements for accessible polling places, accessible voting, what I'm going to be referring to is specifically guidance that the DOJ put out or technical assistance that the Department of Justice put out on accessible polling places, and this guidance was basically developed in 2016. It is relatively current.
It has information I'll be presenting along with an actual checklist, that we highly recommend you use if you are surveying a polling place. I'm going to talk about best practices, related to election day, and actually serving people with disabilities. And things that you should be doing to train your poll staff, your poll workers.
In general, maybe things that you can have on hand, in case emergencies come up and they can, or situations come up. That being said, I'm going to move forward. Next slide gets into like I said, when we are talking about accessible facility for voting, we are not talking about an accessible facility that meets the 2010 standard or the 2010 ADA standard for accessible design, with complete accessibility. What we are talking about are certain areas, certain features that we want to meet those ADA standards for accessible design for the 2010 standards. The primary feature are parking, accessible route, ramp and curb ramps, doors and interior access and signage.
Now of course, having a completely accessible facility would be a best practice. You may decide that is what you want. But in terms of what is actually required to provide to your voting public is those features that I mentioned.
I want to iterate one thing, when you are evaluating that polling place, think of this as a temporary event. In other words, we think of temporary events like festivals, things of that nature. Election day is a temporary event, in the sense you are going to be using buildings designed for completely different purpose for voting, when you are looking at that building and determining the accessibility, keep that in mind. You may very well be using a different entrance, than the building's main entrance because of where that voting area is. You may want to move that accessible parking and create more spots because you want to have the accessible parking close to that different entrance.
You are going to have to have signage, showing how people are going to be using that building on election day. I'm going to caution you to keep that in mind when you look at a facility. Now let's get into the features. The first feature I'm going to talk about is parking. The parking, if you are providing any kind of parking for your voting public, for people that will be coming into that facility to vote, you also need to provide accessible parking. If you are not providing any parking whatsoever, for that facility, you don't need to provide accessible parking. Remember when I say you don't need to provide that means it is not a requirement. I'm not saying don't provide. Everybody is encouraged as a best practice to go above and beyond, but I'm going to talk about requirements. If you have parking, you definitely need to have an accessible parking. When we talk about that accessible parking place, we are going to look at three elements. We are going to look at the actual parking space, where the car or van is parked, and we need access aisle adjacent to the space, and we need signage to designate it as an accessible space. You have to have those three elements. The other thing I'll add, I think should be added, another element is the actual surface that we are parking on, want to make sure that surface is as level and stable as possible. It's common sense, we are not going to put accessible parking on a hill that has a big slope and its gravel. That doesn't make any sense even if it's close.
I'm going to talk about the actual dimensions. I've got a nice graphic here, or illustration that the US Access Board put together.
And you can see, a standard parking space is 96 inches. Our parking space where we are having the accessible parking is same 96 inches, but we are also adjacent to it adding 60 inches minimum for the access aisle. That is critical. You have to have that access aisle and it has to be 60 inches minimum because that is what people need for a wheelchair user to get in and out of the vehicle. Not only to have enough room to do it, but to do so safely. Notice on the right side, of the illustration, I have the van accessible parking space. Here we have 132 inches minimum width. The access aisle is the same 60 inches. The van, the actual parking space for van parking, van accessible parking, I should say, is larger than the standard parking size. We want 132‑inch minimum, and we have this access aisle, 60‑inch minimum. Let's say that we wanted to create more spaces. The next illustration shows that. You are not all going to memorize all these dimensions that I'm throwing out. That is why you have the Power Point and I've put a lot of slides in here which you can use as resources for yourself.
All right. As I move forward, here is examples of shared access aisle. We are creating two accessible spaces out of three existing parking spaces. Say I have three regular parking spaces, but I need accessible spaces and how can I do that the most efficiently. Here we have our access aisle, and I have two standard spaces reserved for someone, accessible parking. They can both use this. Basically, out of three regular parking spaces, I was able to create two accessible spaces. Note the other element I talked about, you have to have the signage. Here I have the international symbol of accessibility, reserved parking, that is what you want. The signs are posted and the bottom of the sign where the text is should definitely be, not definitely, has to be 60 inches from the ground or whatever surface this post is coming up from.
So, basically, that needs to be 60 inches above. That is the minimum. If you go out and give materials and find signs and sign posts, you will find most of these are standardized, to be correct, to be 60 inches. But if something doesn't look right or you have an existing facility and it looks too low, that is the time to get out your tape measure and make sure that these are the correct height. Another note is that again because you are very well going to be using other entrances to your building, than the main entrance, I heard something, okay, I'll keep going. To that entrance, especially at large facilities, think of schools, grocery stores, those are large buildings, you are not going to use the whole facility for voting. You probably have a marked off area for the voting area. Whatever entrance you are using for that, that is where you want your accessible parking. You may be creating a different accessible parking area, even if that facility has ample accessible parking but it is in the wrong location. We will get into accessible signage more, but of course if you are creating a separate or a different accessible parking area, you want to make sure that you have ample signage alerting all your voters as to where that accessible parking is.
Here is an illustration, coming from DOJ, technical assistance material, about the accessible route. What I really like about this illustration is that all of the, not all, but some of the features are temporary. We have a facility that is being used, and in order to make it accessible, we are adding a lot of temporary elements to do so. I want to stress that this is perfectly okay. There is no problem with doing this, as long as those temporary elements meet the guidelines set forth by the 2010 standards. You can do this. The reason I want to emphasize that is that, I know that for various reasons, there might be difficulty finding enough polling places. I know that we have been working in our region with the State of Nebraska, and they have had a number of polling places that they have used in past they can't use anymore, due to the flooding and natural disasters they have experienced. Right now, in the City of Chicago, I've been told with the primaries, that a number of polling places that were supposed to be or used to be in nursing homes, senior facilities, are being moved because that is definitely not a good place to have your voting.
When you have to move and find different places, you might have to be creative, the law lets you be creative. That flexibility is put in there by using these temporary measures. I don't want you to feel that if you can't find a building that is perfectly accessible, or you don’t have time to make it permanently accessible that you can't use that building. There are other measures you can use. If it seems like I'm moving at a breakneck speed, it is because I have a lot of slides for a short period of time. This is to make sure that you have a lot of reference information, after I conclude this presentation, and there will be some slides that I'll be going through and they are going past and they are there for you, in terms of reference material.
Bear with me, a lot of material but I want to get through as much as I can. Accessible route, I showed the illustration but what is an accessible route? It is that continuous unobstructed, important, unobstructed path, that connects all your accessible elements. Essentially, when we are going to our voting or going to vote, we are going to get off some place, or start that route, we are going to start it in the parking lot, and we could be starting it in we are pedestrian at the sidewalk that leads up to the building, we could be starting at a very near bus stop.
Then we will be moving from that starting point on some type of walkway to the facility, then to the entrance and then to the actual voting area. All of that accessible route I'm talking about needs to be accessible.
When we say accessible, we mean that we want it to be free of abrupt changes in level. We want it to be as level as possible. We don't want any abrupt changes in the level, I have photos that illustrate that, we don't want steps. We don't want high thresholds. We certainly don't want steeply sloped walkways, that refers to the running slopes or vertical slopes and also crossroads, level as possible. Talking about something being level and not having steps or slopes, we also have to have our width. That accessible route should be at least 30 inches wide, 36 inches wide, I'm sorry. 36 inches wide. There are sometimes when you can briefly narrow to 32 inches. Here you get wiggle room, things aren't perfect. We know it's hard to make things perfect. Completely narrow to 32 inches but only for two feet, 24 inches. You get two feet, but you can briefly move into that 32 inches. Really in terms of accessible route, you should be making 36 inches wide. That is everywhere, both outside, that is the walkway, that is inside, and that is in that voting area.
And the next slide kind of re-iterates what I said. One thing that you just want to remember is accessible passenger drop-off site. You have an area where people can be dropped off and then they come into the building to vote. That is a part of their accessible route too, for those individuals.
And that accessible passenger drop-off site might be even closer to the building or slightly different than where your accessible parking is. And I certainly think that if you have an accessible passenger drop-off site, don't say, "Oh they can just move into the accessible parking, drop the person off and back out and leave and then maybe come back" . Because what are you doing ? You are tying up your accessible parking for other people. So, you should think about the accessible passenger drop-off site as something separate from your accessible parking. You concur with than Mike? I'm going to as you if I got that one, right?
MIKE Edwards :
Mike agrees!! So that is how we are going to do this. And then here is another very very important point. Sometimes you are not going to be able to have an accessible route.
I'm going to interrupt you there for one second. The captioner has lost their connection at this point so maybe we pause while we get the captioner re-connected. Thankyou
That's fine. Let me know when I should start up again.
We were talking about the accessible route on slide 22 we were talking about the accessible route in slide 22. I have a note. This is a critical thing to take into consideration. If you are going to have an accessible route that is different from your general path, in other words, that most of the voters are going to be using one route, but there is no way that you can make it accessible, that route either leads to an entrance that you can't make accessible and you have to use another accessible entrance, or it's just not quite level enough, and so you are going to create another type of route, but whenever you have an accessible route that is different from the general path, you definitely have to have signs that direct voters to both the accessible route and the voting area. So, you want to make sure that you have that sign correctly and that sign should start from the very beginning of the accessible route. What you want to avoid is people taking all the time and energy to get to a door, then find that they can't use that door, and they have to try to figure out where they want to go, and I think just common sense, you know, it makes sense in terms of common sense, but sometimes when you have people doing your access surveys, and you are making your plans, that can get forgotten. This is the interior accessible route. I think that speaks for itself.
Like I said, I'm going to be moving through some of the slides quickly so we can get through the material. And you have the slides for future reference. But mainly you are going to be getting through the door, and then how you are going through that voting area, you are probably going to have people going to the registration sign in, and then to the actual voting table, ballot marking devices, whatever you are using, and then back out of the building, and as we said earlier or established that is 36 inches, that is what you need to have that maneuvering space to get through the area. We will talk about doors later. Note on this picture, and I'm using my clicker pointer and I know you can't see that, note on the picture that there is a chair by the door, that is a really nice gesture for people who may have fatigue, or just whatever type of disability can make it difficult for them to stand for periods of time. That chair is again a best practice, not required.
I went through the slide when I talked about the passenger drop off locations, and I was talking about accessible route. But just remember, when you have a passenger drop off, then it needs to be accessible or have that access aisle and all the features of accessible parking that you would have for accessible parking place. You are just remembering that you are basically reserving it for passenger drop off and not considering it to be part of your accessible parking. Now I'm going to get into curb ramps and Mike, feel free to jump in on curb ramps because this isn't my area of expertise. But a curb ramp or curb cut is different than a ramp. As in it's just for, you will commonly see a curb ramp when someone is going from the street to the sidewalk, because of course what you have there is the curb, which is essentially a step to get to the sidewalk. To make that accessible, we are going to have to ramp that, but what you are talking about is a much smaller ramp and it has some different standards that we use, now a curb ramp can be no steeper than that one in twelve, one inch of rise for every 12 inches of run. That is the same as a regular ramp. It is going to look different because we are talking about a much smaller area. But no steeper than one in twelve. That is your maximum. You can have it to go one in 14, one in 18, that is great. But one in 12 is the maximum that you can go.
Then you can have flared sides. In the illustration this comes from guidance from the US Access Board, we have sides, flared sides, and those can be one in ten. They can be steeper than the actual part that people will be using to walk across or to go up on to that sidewalk. There is our standard curb ramp that we already have. If you look at the curb ramp that is what you want to make sure that you have that it's no steeper than 1 in 12 and if it has flared sides, that can be 1 in 10.
I'm going to move on though to portable curb ramps. So often you will have situations like where can we use this place, how do we make an accessible ramp, route, because we have these problems. Here are what portable curb ramps can be helpful, I want you to notice on these portable curb ramps they don't have the flared sides. What we have is edge protection. If you notice on either side of that portable curb ramp, we have an edge that comes up, and I think that is for obvious reason we don't want someone stepping off of that, to make it safer. We have got that, on that curb portable curb ramp. Something you want to keep in mind with a portable curb ramp is that it is sturdy enough to handle a power wheelchair. If you buy one, make absolutely sure that you are looking at it, product specifications, and this is something that can handle the weight of a power chair. Portable curb ramps or sometimes just thick mats can also be used when we have sidewalk problems, and here I have an image that shows a typical sidewalk problem, where you will get into areas where the sidewalk is crumbling, it is not level, we have got these problems, a curb ramp can actually be used in these kinds of situations too.
I'm moving on to ramps. You can see I've got lots of examples of portable, because that is where when you are trying to add something and to fix the problem, to know how this is going to work, portable ramps are okay. They are perfectly fine. But they have to meet the exact specifications that the 2010 standards set forth for permanent ramps. That accounts for exterior and interior. But whenever that slope is getting greater than one in 20, and that is one inch for 20 inches, one inch rise for every 20 inches, I should say, it is considered a high enough slope for a ramp and so then you need to ramp that area. The picture that I'm using here is a step. We have slope, and that is your actual walkway, when that slope or that starts to turn into a hill essentially, is one in 20.
But sometimes we have steps. I shouldn't say sometimes. I'll say if you have steps, then you also have to have a ramp. Even if it's one step and even if it's a short step, you need to have a ramp for people to be able to get to the next level or into a building. I've got a really good illustration here of it, basically has all the dimensions and features of a ramp. I want to quickly point out two things that people need to keep in mind when they are putting in a portable ramp or looking at your existing ramp. That is landings, because landings are critical. You can have everything you need in terms of making sure that that ramp meets the maximum level allowed, which is the one in 12. But you definitely have to have a level landing at the bottom, so people have a level flat area to be on when they, before they get on to the ramp, and then as someone is leaving the ramp, they have a level flat area, when they leave the ramp. Especially if someone, if that ramp is leading to a doorway, because can you imagine trying to get into a door, you are having to pull the door open, and you don't have a level area to do that from. If you were actually at the top of the ramp, trying to do that, when you are basically not on a level area, and you are on a slope that is one to twelve, that is going to be almost impossible to do.
Cut off on me.
Hello? And anyway, and then I've got other things about handrails, if the rise is greater than six feet, then you are going to need to have handrails on both sides. Basically, use this as reference, but here is everything that you need to have for ramps. I also have ramp specifications again, so for those of us that like our information visually, I have the illustration, and for those of us, like me, who like the information to be written out in bullet points, I have it this way as well. Your dimensions for your ramps.
Mike, do you have anything to add to ramps?
Not really. With that level landing, the handrails you have on there should extend twelve inches on both the top and bottom into that level landing to help somebody get themselves, back out and prepare for whatever is next. You should have those handrails extensions at the top and bottom.
Like your (overlapping speakers) thank you for adding that. It shows in the picture, but I didn't say why. That is why the extensions are there, because again, you are going to need to be able to grab onto that ramp at that level area before you get to it, and then as you are getting off of it, you need that support. That is really critical. Thanks for, I knew I would forget something.
Julie, Mike, if you could get a little closer to the speakerphone when you, we want to make sure we hear you.
Okay. Can you hear me all right, Peter?
Great. Building entrance, a polling place must have at least one accessible entrance. That makes sense, everything I've said about accessible routes would be of course, we have to have an accessible entrance. When we are saying accessible entrance, we mean that that doorway or the part that of the door that someone is actually passing through, there needs to be a minimum clear width of 32 inches. By clear width, what I'm talking about is when that door is completely opened, we have to have 32 inches, someone can pass through. If you have a door that doesn't quite open all the way, you can measure between your interior door frame and get 32 inches, but if the actual door doesn't completely open, for whatever reason, then you don't have a clear space of 32 inches. That is just something to really keep in mind. Also, you want to look at thresholds. If that threshold is very high and I believe it's over a quarter of an inch, is that correct?
If you have a threshold, that is over a quarter of an inch high, then you are going to have difficulty for people to get through. You can fix this by just having what is called a portable curb, threshold ramp, and you can find these and get them and install them. Then you must have signs directing people to this accessible entrance. If you have an entrance that is not accessible, even on that doorway, it is not accessible, but it has to have a sign that is going to direct people to the accessible entrance, and then the accessible entrance needs to have a sign showing that it's the accessible entrance.
That is what we want with our doorways or our building entrance, I should say. Here is an example I have of photo of a person who is a wheelchair user, and notice how she is coming up to the door, notice that there is going to be enough clear space because she can open the door all the way and she has a nice flat entrance area, so it's easy for her to pull back when she is opening the door but the added dimensions for this is the door opening force. With interior doors, you don't want more than five pounds of force to open that door. When the exterior door, I don't have the requirements but in terms of the best practice, I would say no more than eight pounds of force.
What do you do if you have, if you measure your doors and you used the door appreciate you are gauge and pressure gauge and you found out you have a lot of force. What can you do? One thing that is recommended is on an election day, just prop that door open. But if you prop the door open, first you want to make sure it's wide enough that you have that clear space of 32 inches, and that you keep it propped open during the entire voting time. You aren't opening, closing, opening, closing, that is the accessible entrance and it's too heavy for someone to open on their own, we want to make sure we have it open.
I want to add something else too about the door opening force. That is going to affect a lot more people than just individuals who are wheelchair users. We are thinking of building accessibility, but this is also going to affect people who for whatever reason maybe have limited strength and can't open those doors. I think in terms of best practice, let's, and not even in terms of best practice, in terms of accessibility, that door opening force should apply to all entrances that anyone is using, not just that accessible route. Because you may have someone with a disability who is not a wheelchair user, using that main entrance that is not the accessible route, but when they get to the door, they can have a difficult time because of the weight of that door.
Going to move on. Then we get into, we have talked about getting through the door, being able to open the door in terms of the weight of the door or pressure of the door. Then we get into the actual door hardware. What you want to make sure you don't have is that standard doorknob that someone has to actually open their hand, wide open, pinch and turn, because this is very difficult for people with a number of disabilities. I have examples, this is coming from the US Access Board, of the kind of handles that are okay, and that people with different types of disabilities can use. I'm not going to go into each one. They speak for themselves there.
But the thing you can see is, for each one of those we don't necessarily have to have hand that is widely opened and there is no grasping motion that is necessary. I talked about accessible routes, but this is something that could affect people with a wide range of disabilities, and so we are really talking about all of our doors, in order to meet the needs of people with as many disabilities as possible. Both for exterior and interior, you want to make sure you are not using those kinds of handles that require the twisting and pulling. If you can't find something to temporarily fix these, there are portable lever grips that you can put on doors, different things you can do, you can always prop that door open. Protruding objects, we are moving, it's still part of the accessible route, but we are getting from the needs of wheelchair users to the needs of different kinds of people who may have disabilities. So, this is mainly for individuals who are blind, or very low vision. The protruding object is essentially anything that is going to protrude, I'm going to say stick out, more than four inches from the wall. We have something, a fire extinguisher is a common example of something sticking out more than four inches from the wall, and that is located between the 27 inches and 80‑inch range. When I'm saying 27 inches, I mean 27 inches from the floor, and 80 inches in general. If it's higher than 80 inches, it's going to be okay. If it's lower than 27 inches from the floor, it's going to be okay. Why is it okay if it's lower than 27 inches from the floor? It's because the cane sweep can detect that object. Why is it okay if it's higher than 80 inches? Because we are talking about an incredibly tall individual, if 80 inches is a problem. What we are looking at is 27/80 range and jutting four inches out from the wall.
I've got my example here, because fire extinguishers are very common. Let's say you have a fire extinguisher in the hallway, do you have to take it down, what should you do? The simple fix is to put a planter, an object like a heavy clay pot on the floor, underneath that fire extinguisher because then the cane is going to be able to detect that or the cane sweep can detect that object that is below the protruding object. That is your fix. You don't have to do a lot of reconfiguring, spend a lot of money, just have that object that you can put below it that works for the cane sweep.
Here is another thing to keep in mind, and that is the underside of open stairs. I think you can tell from the illustration at the bottom of this slide, why this is such a hazard, basically we have not only an accessibility hazard but a risk management hazard. How we handle that is, again, putting up a barrier. In this case, in the illustration, what we have used is some fencing, but you will see commonly in hotels, where a hotel will put seating in that area, or maybe a large planter in that area, anything in that area to keep someone from continuing to move forward and then hitting their head on the underside of those stairs. If you have something like that, you want to pay attention to it. One thing I want to add to protruding objects that is important, blind individuals or individuals with low vision may use a route other than the accessible route.
If you have two different routes, you are going to want to make sure that protruding objects are assessed, and that is eliminated, that barrier is eliminated on all routes that you have to the voting area and through the voting area, all of those, because a blind individual may use the general route, a blind individual may use the accessible route. Look for protruding objects in all routes to the voting area. We are getting, we are at the voting area, and I've said all of this before, but I want to add something else, and this is something that you definitely want to make sure that your poll staff who are there on that particular voting day, are aware of, and those are the little things that get moved around, that can cause problems with the accessible route. Or problems for anyone. That is trash cans. The last time you looked at the voting area there may not have been trash cans in the way of the door swing but over the course of the day trash cans can get moved or janitorial staff move the trash cans. You want to have these kinds of objects that can be moved around in the way, and that your staff know if they see something that is in the way, that can be moved. Little rugs, anything that could pose a tripping hazard of that, should be taken care of. Alert your staff if they see a cord or something, that is a problem, having Duct tape available to duct it down and over it, is a good idea. What I'm saying is, give that, over the course of election day, things won't stay in the same place, and your staff should know to continually be monitoring that, and making sure that we keep that clear floor space.
Actual voting machines, or voting places where people actually cast their ballots, I like this picture because it shows a good example, I see a note from Melissa, thanks, Melissa, I see a good example of universal design, because a lot of people can vote in a lot of different ways, notice that one individual is standing, and this person for a variety of reasons may prefer to stand. The disability could be one of the reasons. Another person is voting the way most of us do, we sit down at that table, and mark our ballot. But very easily, by pulling the chair aside, we now have an accessible area to vote, and notice that we have the universal symbol of accessibility, indicating that this is an accessible table, and so the wheelchair user can easily pull up to and under the table and vote, person leaves, we can push the chair back in, and another individual can use it. You have got a lot of, I think it's a good example of universal design where we have one type of voting station, but many different people can use it in many different ways.
If you are using and you should be, because this is part of it, a ballot marking device, I know that there are a lot of different companies out there, different states, different counties are choosing different types of voting machines, so to speak, so that is why I'm using that term voting machine, but you want to make sure whatever you use that the operable part is never higher than 48 inches. That is really important. That operable part has to be no higher than 48 inches. I've seen a lot of comments on this. I'll try to get through this fast and those can be good for questions or to add. I'm not getting every single thing in here because of the limited amount of time that we have. This could be a whole half day, just talking about this. Temporary signage, this is going to be necessary again because you are using that facility for a different activity than you normally do. Be prepared, all your buildings you should have some type of temporary signage, because you are trying to tell individuals where they should vote, and alerting them as to the accessible routes, which doorway is accessible, accessible parking and so all those signs are generally not there when the building is being used for its normal purposes. You are going to be bringing that signage in. You do not have to follow the ADA standards for signage, but you should try to follow the specifications for directional signs, as closely as you possibly can, but you aren't required to meet that completely, because these are temporary signs.
But some quick things, if you are using a temporary sign, and you are looking into purchasing some, the simpler the design, the better. Really simple design, that is really universal design principle. You don't want to extend it or condense type. You want to make sure you have very high contrast. Notice that the sign that is in this image, we have white against the dark blue, or royal blue, and then we have red against white, so again we have a lot of contrast between the background and the text. That is what you want. The next, along with that high contrast, you also want a nonglare finish. I know if you are having things printed up and that high gloss laminate might look really nice and snappy, but it's going to create a glare, and that glare can make it difficult for people to read that sign, especially if they are approaching it from a distance. Common sense says your characters should be sized according to the viewing distance. If you want people who are pulling up in their car to notice something, you are going to want pretty big fonts, you want a fairly large sign. If this is just a sign that is the door and people will see it when they get to the door, that is going to make somewhat of a difference.
You are allowed, if you have an existing room sign, but it's difficult to read or there are problems with it, you can put a temporary sign over that sign, if it's possible to do that, you can do that, don't feel that you are bound by existing signage. If it says main entrance here and that is what has always been used at that facility, but that is not going to serve your purposes, then you can put a sign over it because that would make it less confusing than having two signs. I think that this pretty much speaks for itself. The other thing I don't know who would make a cursive sign anymore, because it seems like all of us have forgotten how to write in cursive, but if you are having to make a hand lettered sign and situations come up where you need to reroute people on election day, you need to make a quick hand lettered sign, always use printing. Never use cursive, just because for obvious reasons. About when only some routes are accessible, you want to make sure besides the text that you have that international sign of accessibility, that is the icon that is going to tell people that this is the direction that I should be going.
Boy, we are really going through this time. I'm going to skip this particular slide, because I think the point, I want to get across is better put on this building or this image. Here we have an image of a church, and this church has three separate entrances, two that are accessible, one that is not accessible. It's really critical that we indicate which, from the street level, if one is seeing that building, they would know immediately which way they should go, and which accessible entrance should be used to get into the voting area. If the voting area is in the center of the building, and it's going to be equal distance from either entrance, and you want to use both those entrances, then you should mark both of those entrances, but let's say we want to route people with only one of the entrances. Then we indicate which entrance is our accessible voting route. Just because it's an accessible entrance, doesn't mean we are going to mark that as so. What we want to show is this is our accessible entrance for the voting route today. That is why you will see signs that say accessible voting here because it would be easy for someone to think that is an accessible entrance or it could be already marked as such on the building. Again, accessible voting entrance, and this is the accessible route to accessible voting. To make that really clear, whenever you have a building that has more than one accessible entrance.
I talked about handmade signs. Obviously, someone did a quick fix, because people weren't going the right way. I think that is a great way to do it. They put a sign there and so someone is pulling up to that parking space, and they immediately know which direction to go. But I would add, I would have put the sign to the side of this, so I'm not getting into that 60‑inch clearance. Note that this sign is on the building. You can do that. If the parking spot pulls right up to the building, you don't necessarily have to put the sign on the post. You can have the sign on the building, you just need to make sure that you are still following that 60 inches from the ground or sidewalk or pavement, from the bottom space, that 60‑inch minimum. Okay. Do you want to take over on this one, Mike? Or you want me to keep going?
I can, if you want me to.
Yeah, I've been talking like crazy. I'm going to let Mike do this one.
He has done so many of these accessibility surveys, and this is basically tips and this is coming out of Department of Justice.
We are going to do an accessibility survey of our building. We are going to go out and look at it and make sure, find out where the accessible route is, and here are things we would probably need here. One, I would suggest a tape measure that is at least 20 feet long, you are going to want to measure parking spaces that are at least sixteen feet wide for a van parking space. I would get a heavy‑duty tape measure that is at least 20 feet long, a soft tape measure works well, the more Tailor tape to wrap around a handrail and make sure that meets the requirements for the dimensions of those handrails. A level, you can use a bubble level, but I would highly recommend getting a digital level, if you can. It's so much easier, it saves you time and if you are like me you don't like to do math, so it will tell you immediately what the slope of that is. We recommend using a 24‑inch level, that is the same length of a level that the Department of Justice would use if they were coming in to do an accessibility survey. We normally recommend a 24‑inch long level.
A door pressure gauge, these are pretty simple devices, you press them up against the door, and once the door starts swinging, you can measure how much pressure that is, it's normally a spring loaded object, and it presses against it and you can read right on it how much pressure you are using there. These are pretty simple, they only cost 10, 15 bucks. They are pretty easily you can get them just about anywhere. A digital camera with a flash and spare batteries, you can also use a camera phone. But I always take photos of every barrier that I find, so I can write it up in a report later, so I know what I have, and then especially if I'm handing it off to somebody else, to make a fix or whatever, they know exactly what I was talking about when I wrote down that barrier. Clipboards and pens and pencils, obviously to write down whatever you find there. Doorstops for keeping doors open during measurements. You are going to have to click forward for me.
For measuring and recording, one person can complete a survey of a polling place, but it is often quicker and easier if two people work together. In this case I would normally have one person taking the measurements, one person, the other person taking the photos, and writing those dimensions down. You can get through a building quickly with two people, a lot faster than you can by yourself. By all means if it's just you, you can do it yourself. But a second person is definitely helpful. Go ahead.
For slope services, when measuring the slope of a ramp, parking space, pedestrian route, it is important to identify whether the surface is accessible, and then two slope measurements perpendicular to one another should be taken at each location, one is the running slope which runs parallel to the direction of travel. That one should be no more than one to 20. Then it becomes a ramp up to 1 to 12. You want to look, this is true, so look at the cross slope, that is your side to slide slope, that should be no more than 2 percent, either way, that way, because once you start getting a higher cross slopes, three, four, five percent, they start getting dangerous. So, you will want to fix those slopes. You moved.
The easiest way to measure slope is a digital level. The digital display gives a reading that is shown as a ratio, either a percentage or a degree, normally I keep it at a percentage. That way, I can tell exactly whether there is anything above 5 percent becomes a ramp, and one in twelve slope which is the maximum of a ramp is 8.33 percent. Go ahead. Another way to measure slope is using 24‑inch level with the leveling bubbles. This is the way you have to do math here. But place the level on the sloped surface in the direction you wish to measure. Rest one end of the level on the highest point of the sloped surface and lift the other end until the bubble is in the middle. This is the level position. While the level is in position, measure the distance between the bottom end of the level and the sloped surface below. If the distance is two inches or less, the slope is 1 to 12 or less. When the distance is more than two inches, you want to record that distance on a checklist, so the exact slope can be calculated later. For measuring cross slope, if the distance measured from the level position is 1/2 inch or less, then it's a slope of 1 to 48 or 2 percent or less. To measure door openings, what you want to do is measure from the, you want to open the door to 90 degrees, and measure from the latch side door frame to the door itself, when it is open at that 90 degrees. That is going to be your clear width. That has to be at least 32 inches. Go ahead and go to the next one.
That kind of does that, and thank you, Mike. I want to tell everybody , I threw this on him, that little section there. I was wanting a break on my throat for a while (chuckles) but like I said, he has done a lot of surveys, so he's ] better at that than I am. I want to add one thing about conducting surveys, because you are doing it building to building, but when you are looking at your overall plan, you are looking at your voting precinct or your county or whatever in an entirety. You have to come up with some way to handle all this data that you are taking, and if you want to save yourself a lot of grief, I highly recommend that you come up with a consistent way to name your photos, because you are going to be going through and one sidewalk looks just like another sidewalk, and how do we associate that with the precinct, with the particular voting facility, where is it? Is it in the front of the building, the back of the building? Make sure that you name your photos and consistently, come up with some kind of way to do this, and make sure that you record the information that goes with that photo, and any recording information I would put a title that you have given for the photo, however you are going to name it on there, and again, just so if you pull all this information together, you know exactly what it is that you are looking at, and can use that. I may not be saying that in the best way, but I think you know what I mean. But it is definitely something that you want to sit down and think through, because you are going to have a lot of data to sift through once you do all your accessibility surveys.
Here are additional requirements. I have a little about curbside voting, I had a lot more and I took it out. The reason is in working with Secretary of State offices, I'm finding that they are looking at curbside voting and deciding to do we want to do this? Do we not want to do this? And wanting to come up with their policies as how they want that to work. So there are some specific guidelines that are available as to the minimum that you are supposed to do, but since you are coming from all across the United States, different areas, what I say is make sure that you know what your particular county and your particular state has set up for guidelines for curbside voting, in terms of the procedures, and follow those. If you do have curbside voting though, you want to make sure that you have the signage that informs voters of the option to vote, and when you pick that location for curbside voting, you want to make sure that it is the flat surface, all of that, but you also want to make sure it's in a safe area for your polling workers. If people will be coming out to cars, you want to ensure that they are not having to walk against traffic, that they are not standing in front of another parking space where someone could back into them, it seems like of course, duh, I would do that, but these things happen. That is something to keep in mind.
You may have noticed ; I saw questions pop up about actual voting machines and voting devices. That is a whole area into itself and I didn't add it to this presentation, because I didn't have the adequate time to cover it. But this is another area where each state is working with those vendors and providers to make sure that they are getting correct and accessible voting machines that meet the standards that they are supposed to, and then their best practice would be to make sure that all election officials have this information, have the training, to know how to use these devices, and how to set them up, and they are being consistent from precinct to precinct. Because of the limited time, I'm not going to go through effective communication. I'm going to kind of skip through this section, and this is for your reference, other than to say that effective communication is not just on election day. It is required during all of the voting process. That includes registration. That includes your public wanting to get information about voting, where their precinct is, where they will be voting, they need to have an address change, how do they do that? All of that is communication and you want to make sure all of that is, follows effective communication guidelines. That of course means anything that is on a website should be accessible. We are talking about websites that meet WCAG version 2 level 2A guidelines at least, but definitely be accessible.
I guess now is the time that I will make this announcement. We recently working with the State of Nebraska put together a manual that has a lot of this information in it, but more in depth. It is 47 pages. It is definitely more in depth. It includes an effective communication checklist. I did this specifically for the State of Nebraska. But I'm working on having another version of that, that we can make available and so I'm hoping to have that sometime in April, and all this information will be available to anybody that wants it in html format on a website.
As I skipped through effective communication, I do want to add, here is best practice that the National Association of the Deaf recommended, and that was on election day, just having some written statements that would be easy, in large enough type, that would be easy for people who read text and want to use text, can look at. You standardly have that. They gave some examples. One was is your address correct, sign the registration card. Please show your driver's license or other photo identification. That first line is going to change. Some states like the State of Nebraska like we work with does not even have a photo I.D. requirement. Again, don't assume that everything that I'm saying is going to apply to your state, because different states have different requirements. But if your state does have a requirement for photo identification, then it would be a nice idea to have this information written down to be able to use, if someone can't hear or there could be a variety of reasons that that would be helpful. That is a duplicate. I didn't have on my other slide about temporary signage. The international, I think we all know what that looks like, but I wanted to include it at least one time, so we can see when I throw out the term international symbol of accessibility, what I mean. There it is right there. It can either be the blue background with the wheelchair icon in front of it or the wheelchair icon against the light background but that is what you need to have.
Service animals, can't do any presentation without talking about service animals a little bit. Of course, service animals, because people use service animals, and people are going to vote and they have every right to bring their service animal with them, the ADA identifies or defines a service animal as a dog, and this dog can be any breed or size even if the community has breed restrictions. Some states may have an expanded definition of a service animal, and if you live in one of those states and obviously you are going to follow your state guidelines. If a state allows more than dogs to be service animals, you may very well be having service animals enter the voting facility that are not dogs. But the ADA sets the minimum standards and one minimum standard is that we cannot have breed restrictions. Even if your community has a breed restriction, if somebody comes in with a service dog that is a pit bull or German shepherd, they have a right to do so under the ADA. I see someone, service animals can also be a miniature horse, yes, they can. Miniature horses are not in the definition of a service animal, but they are considered an exception to the service animal and that is correct. You want to tell your polling staff to, if someone comes in with a service dog, not to distract the animal, it's tempting to want to say good boy or hey does he want to have a treat or give him a pat or whistles and eye contact, it's tempting to do that but you don't want to do that because the dog is working. It needs to keep its focus on performing the job.
The other thing you want to make sure that your staff know is not to ask for identification that a dog is a service animal. That doesn't mean that you can't ask if it's a service animal. I'm talking about identification. The reason you shouldn't ask for identification is there is no identification that is required by the federal government. Dogs aren't required to be certified, aren't required to be licensed. The handlers or users of the dogs aren't required to have any type of license or documentation.
So none really exists that have any actual meaning. You just don't ask for that.
Also, your staff need to know that service dogs aren't required to wear a vest. If someone says this is my service dog and it doesn't have a vest, that is okay, they are not required to do so. If it's not obvious, and I want to state this, don't be asking people who are wheelchair users who have a service dog with them or people obviously who are blind and have a service dog with them if that is indeed a service animal. That is really almost to the point of harassment. But if it's not obvious that a dog is a service dog, your staff can ask two questions: Is your dog a service dog and what tasks or work does the dog perform? That's it. Those are the only two questions that may be asked. Your staff should be trained not to ask the dog to perform its task. The reason for this is performing a task when it isn't needed can be confusing to the animal and can interfere with its training. The one thing that you can do is remove a service animal, people always say, I can't know for sure if it's a service dog or not, how should I know whether it can be in this building? My response is in terms of best practice, I would not worry about trying to make absolutely sure that every service dog or service animal that you see in a building is truly a service dog. You will waste valuable time that people are trying to use to vote, asking questions and maybe getting into a back and forth that there is no way that you can actually prove that information. What you want to do is to pay attention to the animal's behavior, because regardless of whether an animal is a service dog or not, I shouldn't say regardless, I should say service dogs can be removed, and the ADA clearly states that if the dog's handler can't get the dog under control, when it's wandering around or bothering other voters, barking, doing disruptive behavior, if that animal can't quickly be brought under control, you have the right to remove, to ask the dog be removed from the area or remove the dog from the area. Obviously if the dog is aggressive, if we have snapping, biting, any of those behaviors, we can have that dog removed immediately. You need to remember though that the voter has the right to return without the dog. I'm getting into the bare bones of service dogs with these slides, but I do think it's critically important that you make sure that the staff that you have in place on election day know about service dogs and know what to expect, and have some basic information about that. I'm going to get into modification of policy.
The reason I'm bringing this up is you are going to have volunteers, a lot of different people, and they spent time learning the procedures and policies, and then all of a sudden you say, yeah, but then you can change policies. When do you do that, that can be a little difficult? Just make it clear that modification of policy is something that we do in order to remove barriers for people with disabilities. Most of the time, these barriers are very very simple. I'm talking about something, and really almost like providing assistance, so if we have a voter with variable policy who is asking for assistance, putting a ballot in the ballot box, that is a modification of policy, because you are generally telling, your policy or procedure is that people put their own ballot in the ballot box. When someone is using an approved form of identification that is not a driver's license, when you have said they can use other forms, that is a modification of policy. If someone asks to have a ballot question read to them, that again is a modification of policy. My last one I use is that say we are in an area that has a big no food or drink sign, and someone who has low blood sugar is nibbling on a little snack, letting them do so is a modification of policy. All these things are like assistance, and people should know that they can do that, and without having to get a supervisor or making a big commotion, draw attention to the individual, just these modifications should be done simply and easily. I love this image, label jars not people. Again, staff and volunteers should make sure they are never making a decision about whether someone truly has the ability to vote, based upon appearances or biases about that individual. For most of us, who are probably involved in this presentation right now, that seems like common sense. But remember you are going to be having a lot of people who are getting trained who are volunteering that may not have the background with people with disabilities that the rest of us do. This is just a good reminder that we can have biases and many times those biases are based on appearance.
I'm going to go through these, you have got this information here, it is reiterating things I've already said. I'm going to skip through this. You have it for resources. I want to say something about accessibility complaints. Complaints are different than requests. A request is such as a modification of policy or just a request for some assistance, but a complaint is when an individual believes that the way, because of the way things are set up or because of something that's happened or didn't happen, that their right to vote was impeded in some way, shape or form, and when this happens, and this could happen for a variety of reasons beyond accessibility, your poll workers should know to remain courteous, friendly, follow through on that request, follow your procedures that you have set up for that, you probably have a point person to take this kind of information to, and to remember that if a person with disability, it's their right to file a complaint if they choose to do so. It is not a personal reflection, and complaints is one way that we improve future voting accessibility. If that happens, again let's be courteous, friendly and not take it personally.
We are getting close to our time to end. These things, I have some quick tips. I think they really speak for themselves, and if you would like, I'd rather open this up to questions, because I have been seeing all sorts of comments, like flashing across my screen. I know that there are some questions out there. Would you like to do that? The quick tips for customer service or polling staff make a nice training material within themselves. If you want to use those, like take it out of this presentation, if you want, and actually create your own training for your staff like a disability awareness training, please feel free to do so. That is the intent and purpose for this section. I'm going to open this up to some questions, because we do have some remaining minutes.
Thanks, Julie, thanks for the great information and Mike, for pitching in. For those that download the handout prior to the session, when the archive is posted, the handouts will be posted with the archive so you will access to the entire presentation plus all the great resources that Julie has included in her presentation. Before I ask Bridgette to give instructions to phone participants, a couple questions came in. Julie and Mike, clarify, there were a lot of questions about the portable curb ramp and you mentioned about the weight of a power wheelchair, if you could talk about those requirements or how the ADA standards address the type of portable temporary ramps.
Do you want to take that?
Yeah. A portable ramp should be able to accommodate different types of chairs. A power wheelchair can be very heavy. They are typically around 300 to 400 pounds probably. Then you add the user sitting in it. So, it would really be good if you could find a portable ramp that could hold 500 to 600 pounds to use. I wouldn't use anything that would hold less than 500 pounds probably.
Excellent. Thanks. That is something, Mike, that the folks that are doing that should be working with the vendor and asking those questions doing their due diligence.
Then the question about slide 18, if you want to go back to that, someone was asking if slide 18 in fact shows two van accessible spaces, because they are sharing a common access aisle there, slide 18.
Go way back.
Yeah. I know what they are talking about. Can you repeat that, Peter?
Someone was asking if slide 18 in fact showed two van accessible spaces, because of the access aisle they were sharing, I think is what the person was asking.
Basically, in this particular picture only one of them has the signage that says van accessible. But there really isn't any difference between the two parking spaces. Essentially, yeah, you do have two van accessible spots there. Yes.
I want to say also, I found this picture and sometimes it's hard to find good photos and I like a lot about it, and the photo says that that is what it was showing, but personally when I look at it, and I don't know if it's an optical illusion or what, the one parking space for the van doesn't look wider, that much wider than the other one, would you say so, Mike?
Yeah, I think it's just the kind of illusion.
It's the illusion and angle of the photo, yeah. I can see why someone would ask that question for sure.
Great. Staying with parking questions, someone ‑‑ where did that one go? Someone was asking is there a maximum distance that accessible spaces can be from the building or from the entrance.
Can I take that? You want to get it as close as possible. I'm not aware of a maximum distance. As close as possible. But sometimes the closest parking area is not the best parking area, because we have to keep safety in mind. If you don't have that nice level surface close to the main entrance, then you are better off getting as close as you possibly can and still provide a level surface, because as Mike was saying earlier about cross slope, when you get into any kind of cross slope on any kind of surface, you are really increasing risk of injury, and you do not want to do that. Definitely, you want to get as close as possible, but never at the expense of safety. You might have to move that accessible parking, maybe farther away than you thought you would, for that particular reason.
Excellent. Thank you. There was a comment, Julie, can you clarify how the ADA standards address opening force for exterior doors?
You want to take that one?
Yeah, the 2010 standards actually don't have a requirement for the pounds force for exterior door. Our country is so large that you can't really put that on there because weather patterns are completely different in different parts of the country. We did a recommendation of 8 pounds force but there may be some areas in the country where the wind is so strong that could rip the door off its hinges. You may have to go a little heavier. That 8 pounds force was a best practice recommendation, try to get it close in there. Interior doors have a 5 pounds force maximum, but exteriors do not, because of weather patterns. But we still need to try to get those as less as possible. If you have to do a heavy door, you may end up having to station somebody there to open it, if someone comes by.
Right. That is a great point, the bottom line is that folks need to be able to get into the building, so it goes to what you were talking about, Julie, modifying your policies and procedures and providing assistance. You can even have a door that is at 8 pounds and someone still may not be able to open it independently.
You want to avoid in terms of practice if you do that, is having a sign that says if you need assistance getting in call this number. We are not assuming that everybody has their cell phone and so you don't want to use that. If you are having a door and it's closed, say you can't prop it open because of wind or whatever, and you want it closed, you are going to have to station someone who knows when to open that door for people that can't do it themselves. But avoid a call this number and somebody will run to the door and let you in, you don't want to do that.
Great. Julie, do you want to comment on the comment, you talked about using something to make an element, make an object detectable, and someone pointed out that if the element that is protruding is something that it needs to be accessible, there may be things that you want to watch if you are going to use a planter or some other piece of equipment or furniture to make that detectable.
Well, you want to make sure that it doesn't impede. Say that fire ‑‑ I hope I'm getting to what the comment was, maybe I'm not. Say the fire extinguisher, what is the use, we want to be able to be able to get to the fire extinguisher if we need to and take it from the wall. We want to make sure that we don't have something that is underneath it, that is so tall that it would impede getting to it and using it the way that we should. So that planter let's say we were going to put there, I would have the planter that goes from a floor, I would say to less than the 27 inches, wouldn't you say so, Mike? I wouldn't want it to get into that 27 to 80. But it needs to be like high enough and wide enough that a cane sweep would pick it up. But you certainly don't want to put something and wedge it underneath the fire extinguisher where now we can't get the fire extinguisher off the wall. A lot of that is common sense, keeping in mind what the fundamental reason is that we have this here and not impeding that. In my other guide that was extensive I had pictures of drinking fountains. Drinking fountains can be common protruding objects, that came from the wall in this building and weren't built the way they should have been. The drinking fountain was impeding into the accessible route. There, in that instance you want to put your detect something for the cane sweep on either side of the drinking fountain, not right underneath it, because then someone in a wheelchair couldn't pull up and get a drink. Think about what the use is, how is this object being used, if it's something that does need to be used, and make sure that you are not taking care of one barrier and creating other barriers in doing so. Did I make that clear?
That was the point to the comment. Thank you for addressing that. Something really quick, is that you can have an object that may be detectable from one direction down a hallway but is not detectable from another direction. Looking at it from both sides.
Thank you very much. That is critical. (overlapping speakers) east going people and west going are just fine, not our goal.
No. All right. We have reached the bottom of the hour. I apologize that we did not get to all of the questions. We will look at the questions that were submitted and we weren't able to get to and see what we can do with all of those, as a reminder today's session is being recorded, the archive along with the handouts will be available and at some point in approximately two weeks we will get a edited transcript of today's session posted. (overlapping speakers) go ahead, Julie.
One thing I'd like to say, whenever I put a presentation together, as far as I'm concerned that Power Point now belongs to the individuals that listened to it. When it's available, I have no problem with people taking any or all of this and using it for your own purposes, to help you in what you are doing. That means also if you are taking parts of it and creating your own Power Point or using it to as a basis of fact sheets or handouts or whatever, this is now your information to help you do what you need to do. So, thanks.
Thanks for that, Julie. A quick reminder that April 21 will be our next ADA audio conference session, where we will dive in depth into accessible parking, so you can get information on registering and description of the session by visiting ADA‑audio.org, where you can get us a call at 877‑232‑1990 if you have questions about that. Thanks to Julie Brinkhoff, for her presentation today, thanks for Mike Edwards, for pitching in there both with the Great Plains ADA center. Thanks to everyone for joining us here today. That will be a wrap for today's session. Wish all of you have a wonderful remainder of your Tuesday. Thanks for joining us. Take care.
Thank you so much. Peter.
Ladies and gentlemen, this concludes today's conference call, thank you for participating. You may now disconnect.
Communication Access Realtime Translation (CART), captioning, and/or live transcription are provided in order to facilitate communication accessibility and may not be a totally verbatim record of the proceedings.