How Are Locations for Polling Places Determined?

Depending on the entity that holds the election, criteria for choosing voting locations include a space that can accommodate as many people as possible, accessibility to people with disabilities and the elderly, a central location, and adequate space for voting equipment. The location also must not have an associated rental fee.

Accessibility to voters during voting hours is another criterion that determines a suitable location for polling places. Public school gymnasiums and churches are frequent candidates, since a school may simply suspend physical education in its gymnasium on election day, and churches are seldom in use during business days and hours.

Accessibility in general is a vital quality that a poll location must possess. In some municipalities or counties, the clerk and a disability rights coordinator work together to explore polling place options.

In other places, an election commission assumes the responsibility of choosing voting locations. In Douglas County, Omaha, the Election Commission considers the amount of space for voters in a particular location, the amount of available parking, the amount of lighting available, the ease of entering and exiting, and handicapped accessibility. The Election Commission also receives and assesses complaints directly from voters who experience any issues at a polling location.