WSR 00-04-010

EMERGENCY RULES

SECRETARY OF STATE


[ Filed January 21, 2000, 9:03 a.m. ]

Date of Adoption: January 21, 2000.

Purpose: Chapter 434-257 WAC is changed to comply with state law changes as a result of SHB 1291.

Citation of Existing Rules Affected by this Order: Repealing WAC 434-257-050, 434-257-080, and 434-257-120; and amending WAC 434-257-010, 434-257-020, 434-257-030, 434-257-070, 434-257-090, 434-257-100, 434-257-130, and 434-257-150.

Statutory Authority for Adoption: RCW 29.57.170.

Under RCW 34.05.350 the agency for good cause finds that immediate adoption, amendment, or repeal of a rule is necessary for the preservation of the public health, safety, or general welfare, and that observing the time requirements of notice and opportunity to comment upon adoption of a permanent rule would be contrary to the public interest.

Reasons for this Finding: With a due date of April 1, 2000, these rules need to be adopted early enough for counties to survey their polling places and produce a report. These rules will be adopted permanently at a later date.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Comply with Federal Statute: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; Federal Rules or Standards: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Recently Enacted State Statutes: New 0, Amended 8, Repealed 3.

Number of Sections Adopted at Request of a Nongovernmental Entity: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted on the Agency's Own Initiative: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted in Order to Clarify, Streamline, or Reform Agency Procedures: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0.

Number of Sections Adopted Using Negotiated Rule Making: New 0, Amended 8, Repealed 3; Pilot Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0; or Other Alternative Rule Making: New 0, Amended 0, Repealed 0. Effective Date of Rule: Immediately.

January 21, 2000

Donald F. Whiting

Assistant Secretary of State

OTS-3635.1

Chapter 434-257 WAC

REGULATIONS ON ACCESSIBILITY OF POLLING PLACES ((AND PERMANENT VOTER REGISTRATION FACILITIES TO ELDERLY VOTERS OR DISABLED VOTERS))


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-08-010, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98)

WAC 434-257-010
Purpose.

These regulations are adopted pursuant to RCW 29.57.170 to implement the provisions of chapter 29.57 RCW ((and the requirements of Public Law 98-435)) regarding the accessibility of polling places ((and voter registration facilities)) for ((federal)) all elections.

[98-08-010, recodified as 434-257-010, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.57.170. 86-08-045 (Order 86-02), 434-57-010, filed 3/27/86.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-08-010, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98)

WAC 434-257-020
Definitions.

As used in these regulations:

(1) "Accessible" means the combination of factors which create an environment free of barriers to the mobility or functioning of voters ((who are elderly or disabled)). The environment consists of the routes of travel to and through buildings or facilities used for the purpose of voting ((or voter registration)).

(2) "Alternative polling place" means an accessible location which could be used as a polling place in the event that the existing site is inaccessible and which is reasonably convenient to assigned voters as determined by the county auditor.

(3) "County auditor" means the county auditor or county election official.

(4) "Election" means any primary, special or general election ((for any federal office)).

(5) (("Federal election" means a primary, special or general election for the office of president, vice-president, United States senator or United States representative.

(6) "Permanent voter registration facilities" means any offices or other locations specifically required to provide voter registration services under chapter 29.07 RCW or the location of any deputy registrar appointed by the county auditor to serve for an indefinite period of time.

(7))) "State of emergency" means any condition which, in the opinion of the county auditor and secretary of state, would interfere with the safe and efficient conduct of an election.

[98-08-010, recodified as 434-257-020, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.57.170. 86-08-045 (Order 86-02), 434-57-020, filed 3/27/86.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-08-010, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98)

WAC 434-257-030
Standards for accessible polling places ((and permanent voter registration facilities)).

A polling place is accessible if ((each of)) the ((following)) standards ((is)) of the state building code council are met or exceeded. If ((each of)) the ((following)) standards cannot be met, alternative accommodations may be permitted under RCW 29.57.090. ((A permanent voter registration facility is accessible if each of the following standards is met or exceeded, except in subsections 3 and 4 where the standard specifically applies to a polling place.

(1) Parking. Where off-street parking is provided, there is at least one existing or temporary parking place at a polling place designated for use on the day of the election by voters [on the day of the primary or election, for each nine hundred persons registered to vote at that polling place] whose vehicle displays a special card, decal or license plate as required by RCW 64.61.381 [46.16.381]. A polling place, where off-street parking is not available, is considered accessible only if there is no other equally accessible alternative polling place where off-street parking is available which would be suitable for a precinct or group of precincts. Where off-street parking is provided, there is at least one existing parking place at a permanent voter registration facility designated for use by persons who are elderly or disabled. The designated parking place(s) is in close proximity to the accessible entrance to the building containing the polling place or permanent voter registration facility and is no less than twelve feet six inches wide. The area surrounding the [designated] parking place(s) [for voters with disabilities] is a firm, stable surface and generally level, with a maximum slope in any direction of one inch in fifty inches. A slope of one inch in thirty inches in the area surrounding the designated parking place[(s)] is considered accessible only if all other potential polling places within [the] [a] precinct [or group of precincts] are not and cannot be made to meet this standard.

(2) Accessible route of travel. A continuous, unobstructed pathway exists from the accessible parking place(s), where provided, to and through the accessible building entrance and to the polling place or permanent voter registration facility. The accessible route of travel is a minimum of thirty-six inches of clear width and seventy-nine inches in clear height unless otherwise specified in these standards.

(a) Walkways and ramps. Walkways or ramps which occur within the accessible route of travel have a minimum clear width of forty-four inches, no abrupt edge over one-half inch in height, no grating with openings larger than one-half inch, and a maximum slope in the direction of travel less than one inch in twenty inches with a cross slope no more than one inch in fifty inches. The width of walkways and ramps may be thirty-six inches only in instances where it is impractical or unreasonable to provide forty-four inches. If the slope of the accessible route of travel is between one inch in twenty inches and one inch in twelve inches, a level five foot by five foot landing is provided for each thirty inches of rise. Ramps and curb cuts have a slope no more than one inch in twelve inches. Ramps one inch in twenty or steeper have handrails. Curb cuts have a clear width of thirty-six inches and side slopes no more than one inch in six inches.

(b) Entrances. The entrance to the building containing the polling place or permanent voter registration facility is at least thirty-two inches of clear width with a threshold no more than one-half inch in height. The entrance to the building containing a polling place with a threshold of one and one-half inches in height is considered accessible if there is no other equally accessible alternative polling place where the entrance with a threshold of one-half inch in height is available which would be suitable for a precinct or a group of precincts. There is a level, firm, stable and slip resistant surface at least fifty inches wide, at least eighteen inches of which is directly adjacent to the latch side of the door, and five feet deep on both the inside and outside of the door. If the entrance to the building containing the polling place remains in an open position during polling hours, the requirement for the eighteen inches adjacent to the latch side of the door does not apply. If the door is power operated, it is equipped with a time delay.

(c) Interior corridors. If the entrance to the building containing the polling place or permanent voter registration facility does not open directly to the polling place or permanent voter registration facility, there is an unobstructed route of travel from the entrance of the building to the entrance of the polling place or permanent voter registration facility which is at least forty-four inches wide. If there is an elevator on the only accessible route of travel, it is in close proximity to the entrance to the building, it has a minimum interior depth of forty-eight inches, the doors have at least thirty-two inches clear width, and the floor has a firm, stable surface.

(3) Polling place. There is seating and adequate, unobstructed space for reasonable movement of voters who are elderly or disabled within the polling place.

(4) Voting equipment. In polling places in which ballots are cast on voting machines or voting devices, there is at least one machine or device which is no higher than thirty inches with at least twenty-seven inches minimum height knee clearance under the machine, device or table for a seated person. Voters may also be provided with paper ballots and a voting booth with a horizontal surface which is no higher than thirty inches with at least twenty-seven inches minimum height knee clearance under the booth or table.

(5) Illumination. There is sufficient illumination at all points along the accessible route of travel and within the polling place or permanent voter registration facility.

(6) Signs. There are signs with large, high contrast lettering which identify any available accessible parking spaces and the accessible route of travel to the polling place or permanent voter registration facility if it is different from the primary route of travel to the polling place or permanent voter registration facility. Signs shall prominently display the international symbol of access as provided by RCW 70.92.120.)) The following survey form may be used to determine if a polling place is accessible and meets or exceeds the standards of the state building code council.

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[98-08-010, recodified as 434-257-030, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.57.170. 86-08-045 (Order 86-02), 434-57-030, filed 3/27/86. Statutory Authority: Chapter 29.57 RCW as amended by 1985 c 205. 85-18-003 (Order 85-3), 434-57-030, filed 8/22/85.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-08-010, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98)

WAC 434-257-070
Report of precincts and polling places.

(1) No later than April 1 of each even-numbered year, each county auditor shall ((report)) submit to the secretary of state, ((on a form prescribed and provided by the secretary of state,)) a ((list)) report showing the number of ((all)) precincts and assigned polling places within that county. This report shall specify those polling places which are inaccessible, ((a summary of the efforts to locate alternative polling places and any measures taken to temporarily modify existing inaccessible polling places)) and what efforts have been made to locate alternative polling places or to make the existing facilities temporarily accessible.

(2) ((In 1986, the secretary of state may, on the request of a county auditor, extend the deadline of this report to no later than July 1.

(3) No later than thirty days before the next election in an even-numbered year, a county auditor shall notify the secretary of state of any changes in polling place locations. No changes in polling place locations may be made after that time except where it has been determined that a state of emergency exists.)) If a county shows all polling places as accessible after two consecutive report periods, no further reports need be submitted unless the secretary of state specifically reinstates the requirement for that county. Notice of reinstatement must be in writing and delivered at least sixty days before the reporting date.

(3) The secretary of state shall review and keep on file the reports of polling places submitted by each county auditor.

[98-08-010, recodified as 434-257-070, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.57.170. 86-08-045 (Order 86-02), 434-57-070, filed 3/27/86.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-08-010, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98)

WAC 434-257-090
Accessible polling places -- Exceptions.

An inaccessible polling place shall not be used in ((federal)) any election((s)) unless the following conditions have been met:

(1) ((The secretary of state has reviewed and verified the inaccessible polling place, that)) The county auditor has made a reasonable effort ((has been made)) to locate an alternative polling place and that measures to temporarily modify the existing polling place are not feasible, and

(2) The registered voters assigned to such an inaccessible polling place have been notified as required, or

(3) ((It)) The secretary of state has ((been)) determined that a state of emergency exists.

[98-08-010, recodified as 434-257-090, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.57.170. 86-08-045 (Order 86-02), 434-57-090, filed 3/27/86.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-08-010, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98)

WAC 434-257-100
Procedures for inaccessible polling places.

(1) No later than thirty days before ((a special)) an election ((for a federal office or a primary in each even-numbered year)), the county auditor shall mail a notice to each registered voter assigned to an inaccessible polling place which has been authorized for use under these rules and shall contain the following information:

(a) The polling place for that precinct is inaccessible, for the election or elections indicated in the notice, according to the accessibility standards established for voters ((who are elderly and disabled)). The extent and nature of inaccessibility shall be specified.

(b) No later than twenty days before the election or elections indicated in the notice, voters ((who are elderly or disabled)) may request to be assigned to an alternative polling place as listed in the notice, or may request to vote by absentee ballot.

(c) An absentee ballot request form or instructions for requesting an absentee ballot for the specific election or elections indicated in the notice.

(2) Subsequent to the transmittal of a notice under (1) of this section and no later than thirty days before the next election, the county auditor shall also notify any person who registers to vote and is assigned to a precinct for which the polling place is inaccessible.

(3) The county auditor shall make the following accommodations in voting procedures necessary to allow the use of alternative polling places by voters ((who are elderly and disabled)):

(a) The county auditor shall assemble election materials for voters who request to vote at an alternative polling place. The following materials shall be separated according to the precinct in which the voters are registered and placed into an envelope which clearly identifies that precinct:

(i) A poll book or precinct list which contains the names of only those voters from that precinct assigned to the alternative polling place;

(ii) A ballot for each voter from the precinct in which that voter is registered;

(iii) An envelope for voted ballots which is clearly marked "Ballots for Precinct . . . . . . from Alternative Polling Place . . . . . . ((for Elderly and Disabled Voters))";

(iv) Instructions for the precinct election officers.

(b) The procedures for voting and ballot tabulation for all ballots cast by a voter ((who is elderly or disabled)) at an alternative polling place shall be as follows:

(i) The voter shall be given a ballot from the precinct in which that voter is registered and contains all the issues and candidates for which that voter is legally qualified to vote. For lever machine precincts, the voter shall be provided with an appropriate paper ballot.

(ii) After the voter has cast his or her ballot, the ballot shall be placed in a separate ballot box or an envelope designated for ballots cast in an alternative polling place.

(iii) Following the close of the polls, ballots shall be transmitted in the designated envelopes to the county auditor's office. Within each county, all ballots cast at alternative polling places shall be canvassed and reported by legislative district separately from absentee or question ballots.

[98-08-010, recodified as 434-257-100, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.57.170. 86-08-045 (Order 86-02), 434-57-100, filed 3/27/86.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-08-010, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98)

WAC 434-257-130
Voting ((and registration)) instructions.

Each county auditor shall conspicuously display voting instructions, printed in at least 16-point bold type, at each polling place on the day of the election. ((Each county auditor shall also conspicuously display registration instructions, printed in at least 16-point bold type, at each permanent voter registration facility.))

[98-08-010, recodified as 434-257-130, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.57.170. 86-08-045 (Order 86-02), 434-57-130, filed 3/27/86.]


AMENDATORY SECTION(Amending WSR 98-08-010, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98)

WAC 434-257-150
Notice of accessibility.

Each county auditor shall include a list of polling places, indicating those polling places which are accessible according to the standards for voters ((who are elderly or disabled)), in the notice of election published under RCW 29.27.030 and 29.27.080.

[98-08-010, recodified as 434-257-150, filed 3/18/98, effective 3/18/98. Statutory Authority: RCW 29.57.170. 86-08-045 (Order 86-02), 434-57-150, filed 3/27/86.]


REPEALER

     The following sections of the Washington Administrative Code are repealed:
WAC 434-257-050 Assistance from persons with disabilities.
WAC 434-257-080 Examination of inaccessible polling places.
WAC 434-257-120 Accessible permanent voter registration facilities.

Washington State Code Reviser's Office