Ask About the ADA

Is there a place I can certify or register my dog as a service animal?

No. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) does not certify nor set up a registry for service animals. While a search on the internet will provide results of organizations claiming that they will certify or register your animal for a fee, these are not valid under the ADA and only seek to profit from their claims.


Can I bring my service animal into my polling site on Election Day?

Yes. The right for a service animal to accompany its handler into public spaces applies to voting sites. Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), public entities must make reasonable modifications to policies in order to grant equal access to its programs, services, and activities for individuals with disabilities. This is true whether or not the voting program is held at a facility operated by the entity. So if a county Board of Election (a public entity) uses a store (a public accommodation) as a temporary polling site, the Board of Election is responsible to ensure that a person with a disability accompanied by a service animal can bring their service animal with them into the store to vote.


Does the ADA provide reasonable accommodation forms?

No. Accommodation requests are submitted to your employer. An employer may ask you to fill out “ADA” paperwork to process your request. Individual companies and not the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) create this paperwork. The ADA is not an organization, but a law that provides protections for people with disabilities. The human resource departments of an employer typically carry out approval of accommodations. 


If I have a problem voting because of a barrier related to my disability on Election Day, who should I contact?

The right to an equal opportunity to vote is protected under multiple federal laws including the Americans with Disabilities Act. If you believe that you faced discrimination while attempting to vote, you can file a complaint with the Department of Justice Civil Rights Division by using this form.

You can also contact your state or territories Protection & Advocacy (P&A) agency. These federally funded agencies work to ensure the rights of individuals with disabilities in several areas including voting. Each P&A has a program, Protection & Advocacy for Voting Accessibility (PAVA), that is dedicated to ensuring people with disabilities have the opportunity to participate in voting. In addition to educating voters with disabilities about their rights, they can assist and represent individuals with disabilities in filing a complaint. You can locate your P&A at this link.


Does a polling site have to be physically accessible?

Yes. Under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), individuals with disabilities have a right to physical access and use of a voting facility. This is true whether a polling site is operated by the public entity responsible for conducting the voting or if a facility is used as a temporary polling site. Where a building or facility has access barriers for people with disabilities, temporary solutions and fixes can be used to make the site accessible. If this is not possible, then the public entity must make reasonable modifications to allow for alternate voting, such as curbside voting, to ensure equal access.


Do electronic voting machines have to be accessible to someone with a vision related disability?

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requires public entities (state or local government entities) to ensure that individuals with disabilities have an equally effective opportunity to vote and participate in the voting process. This includes ensuring equally effective communication and reasonable modification of policies and practices. Public officials must also maintain accessible voting equipment and ensure election officials are trained on the use of the equipment. The Help America Vote Act (HAVA) requires all jurisdictions conducting a federal election to have at least one accessible voting system. This includes access for those who are blind or have low vision. These systems must offer the same opportunity for access, participation, privacy, and independence as that offered to others.


Do voting ballots need to be accessible?

Yes. Under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), public entities (state and local governments) must modify their policies, practices, and procedures when necessary to avoid discriminating against a person with a disability. Further, public entities must ensure that communication with individuals with disabilities is as effective as that provided to individuals without disabilities. For these reasons, voting ballots must be accessible to a person with a disability and provide an opportunity to vote privately and independently. How this is achieved can vary, but it might include an accessible electronic ballot, permitting an individual to assist the voter with a disability, an overlay or template on a paper ballot, or other alternative means.



Does my employer have to provide a facemask that meets my disability needs if they require face coverings on the job?

As of September 18, 2020, in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, the Equal Employment and Opportunity Commission (EEOC) and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) have offered guidance on business reopening. Both agencies have stated that employers may require employees to wear cloth facemasks.  While these masks have been judged effective in lessening the spread of COVID, OSHA does not consider them personal protective equipment (PPE) and therefore businesses do not have to provide face coverings to their employees or ensure that these coverings are adequate.  In terms of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), EEOC guidance does state that if an employee needs a modification or an alternative to protection due to a disability, then the employer should discuss the request and provide a modification or an alternative assuming it does not cause an undue hardship on the operation of the employer's business.  If the employer has chosen to provide facemasks for employees, an accommodation request to provide the same to meet a person’s disability needs must be considered. 



How long should it take to get a reasonable accommodation for my job?

The regulations from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) do not specify how long the reasonable accommodation process should take. However, the process should be accomplished as quickly as possible. The employer must engage in the reasonable accommodation process and not ignore a request. It may take time, however, to determine and provide the accommodation depending on what is needed.

The EEOC is the federal agency that enforces the employment provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act. In their Enforcement Guidance, Reasonable Accommodation and Undue Hardship Under the Americans with Disabilities Act, the EEOC states the following about the timing.

“10. How quickly must an employer respond to a request for reasonable accommodation?

An employer should respond expeditiously to a request for reasonable accommodation. If the employer and the individual with a disability need to engage in an interactive process, this too should proceed as quickly as possible.(37) Similarly, the employer should act promptly to provide the reasonable accommodation. Unnecessary delays can result in a violation of the ADA.(38)”


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