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Impediments to Voting Report for 2011-2013

Priority: 
Information Only
Date: 
July 11, 2013
To: 
Wisconsin County Clerks
To: 
Wisconsin Municipal Clerks
To: 
City of Milwaukee Election Commission
To: 
Milwaukee County Election Commission
From: 
Michael Haas, Elections Division Administrator
From: 
Richard Rydecki,Elections Specialist/Accessibility Coordinator
AttachmentSize
NR GAB Polling Place Accessibility Report Issued 07-11-13.pdf24.95 KB

The Government Accountability Board staff has issued its “Impediments to Voting Report” for 2011-2013.  The report has been posted on the agency’s website at http://gab.wi.gov/publications/reports/2013-accessibility-report.

Wis. Stat. §5.25(4) requires the Board to submit a report on impediments to voting faced by elderly voters and voters with disabilities to the appropriate standing committees of the legislature each odd-numbered year.  This report details the impediments to voting identified by the Board’s polling place accessibility audit program during the 2011-2013 reporting period.  In addition, the report describes our efforts to provide training regarding polling place accessibility to local election officials and outlines the Board’s public information strategies regarding polling place accessibility.  Our Board will review the report and accept public comments regarding it at the Board meeting of August 13, 2013.

The data compiled for this report is the result of 1,614 polling place audits that the Board has conducted during 16 elections over the past three years.  During this time period, 921 municipalities have been visited in 66 of the 72 Wisconsin counties.  Over 10,000 accessibility problems have been identified by the audit program, for an average of 6.5 problems per polling place.  A significant number of these problems are considered high severity problems, meaning that these barriers would likely prevent a voter with a disability from entering a polling place and casting a private and independent ballot.  Of the remaining problems, an estimated 40 percent of these issues can be remedied at little to no cost solutions.  

The Government Accountability Board is committed to ensuring that all voters have access to the polls on Election Day.  Local election officials have worked with their municipalities and the Board to increase polling place accessibility and these efforts are reflected in the information found in the report.  The Board appreciates all of the work that has been done and will continue to work with local election officials to achieve 100 percent polling place accessibility compliance.