USA Statutes : washington
Title : Elections
Chapter : Precinct and polling place determination and accessibility
RCW 29A.16.120Polling place Use of county, municipality, or special district facilities.The legislative authority of each county, municipality, and special district shall, at the request of the county auditor, make their facilities available for use as polling places for primaries, special elections, and state general elections held within that county. When, in the judgment of the county auditor, a facility of a county, municipality, or special district would provide a location for a polling place that would best satisfy the requirements of this chapter, he or she shall notify the legislative authority of that county, municipality, or district of the number of facilities needed for use as polling places. Payment for polling places and any other conditions or obligations regarding these polling places shall be provided for by contract between the county auditor and the county, municipality, or district.[2003 c 111 § 408. Prior: 1985 c 205 § 14; 1965 c 9 § 29.48.007; prior: 1955 c 201 § 1. Formerly RCW 29.48.007.]Notes:Effective dates -- 1985 c 205: See note following RCW 29A.16.140. RCW 29A.16.010Intent Duties of county auditors.The intent of this chapter is to require state and local election officials to designate and use polling places and disability access voting locations in all elections and permanent registration locations which are accessible to elderly and disabled persons. County auditors shall: (1) Make modifications such as installation of temporary ramps or relocation of polling places within buildings, where appropriate; (2) Designate new, accessible polling places to replace those that are inaccessible; and (3) Continue to use polling places and voter registration locations which are accessible to elderly and disabled persons.[2004 c 267 § 315; 2003 c 111 § 401; 1999 c 298 § 13; 1985 c 205 § 1; 1979 ex.s. c 64 § 1. Formerly RCW 29.57.010.]Notes:Effective dates -- 2004 c 267: See note following RCW 29A.08.651. RCW 29A.16.020Alternative polling places or procedures.The secretary of state shall establish procedures to assure that, in any primary or election, any disabled or elderly voter assigned to an inaccessible polling place will, upon advance request of that voter, either be permitted to vote at an alternative accessible polling place not overly inconvenient to that voter or be provided with an alternative means of casting a ballot on the day of the primary or election. The county auditor shall make any accommodations in voting procedures necessary to allow the use of alternative polling places by elderly or disabled voters under this section.[2003 c 111 § 402; 1999 c 298 § 15; 1985 c 205 § 5. Formerly RCW 29.57.090.]Notes:Effective dates -- 1985 c 205: See note following RCW 29A.16.140. RCW 29A.16.030Costs for modifications Alternatives Election costs.(1) County auditors shall seek alternative polling places or other low-cost alternatives including, but not limited to, procedural changes and assistance from local disabled groups, service organizations, and other private sources before incurring costs for modifications under this chapter. (2) The cost of those modifications to buildings or other facilities, including signs designating disabled accessible parking and entrances, that are necessary to permit the use of those facilities for polling places under this chapter or any procedures established under RCW 29A.16.020 shall be treated as election costs and prorated under RCW 29A.04.410.[2003 c 111 § 403; 1999 c 298 § 20; 1985 c 205 § 12. Formerly RCW 29.57.160.]Notes:Effective dates -- 1985 c 205: See note following RCW 29A.16.140. RCW 29A.16.040Precincts Number of voters Dividing, altering, or combining Creating new precincts.The county legislative authority of each county in the state hereafter formed shall, at their first session, divide their respective counties into election precincts and establish the boundaries of the precincts. The county auditor shall thereupon designate the voting place for each such precinct or whether the precinct is a vote by mail precinct. (1) Precinct boundaries may be altered at any time as long as sufficient time exists prior to a given election for the necessary procedural steps to be honored. Except as permitted under subsection (5) of this section, no precinct boundaries may be changed during the period starting on the thirtieth day prior to the first day for candidates to file for the primary election and ending with the day of the general election. (2) The county legislative authority may establish by ordinance a limitation on the maximum number of active registered voters in each precinct within its jurisdiction. The limitation may be different for precincts based upon the method of voting used for such precincts and the number may be less than the number established by law, but in no case may the number exceed that authorized by law. (3) Precincts in which voting machines or electronic voting devices are used may contain as many as nine hundred active registered voters. The number of poll-site ballot counting devices at each polling place is at the discretion of the auditor. The number of devices must be adequate to meet the expected voter turnout. (4) On petition of twenty-five or more voters resident more than ten miles from any polling site, the county legislative authority shall establish a separate voting precinct therefor. (5) The county auditor shall temporarily adjust precinct boundaries when a city or town annexes unincorporated territory to the city or town, or whenever unincorporated territory is incorporated as a city or town. The adjustment must be made as soon as possible after the approval of the annexation or incorporation. The temporary adjustment must be limited to the minimum changes necessary to accommodate the addition of the territory to the city or town, or to establish the eligible voters within the boundaries of the new city or town, and remains in effect only until precinct boundary modifications reflecting the annexation or incorporation are adopted by the county legislative authority. (6) In determining the number of active registered voters for the purposes of this section, persons who are ongoing absentee voters under RCW 29A.40.040 shall not be counted. Nothing in this subsection may be construed as altering the vote tallying requirements of RCW 29A.60.230.[2004 c 266 § 10; 2003 c 111 § 404; 1999 c 158 § 3; 1994 c 57 § 3; 1986 c 167 § 2; 1980 c 107 § 3. Prior: 1977 ex.s. c 361 § 4; 1977 ex.s. c 128 § 1; 1975-'76 2nd ex.s. c 129 § 3; 1967 ex.s. c 109 § 1; 1965 c 9 §29.04.040 ; prior: (i) 1921 c 178 § 1, part; 1915 c 11 § 1, part; 1907 c 130 § 1, part; 1889 p 402 § 7, part; Code 1881 § 3067, part; 1865 p 30 § 1, part; RRS § 5171, part. (ii) 1907 c 130 § 2, part; 1889 p 408 § 21, part; RRS § 5278, part. (iii) Code 1881 § 2679; 1854 p 65 § 4, part; No RRS. Formerly RCW 29.04.040.]Notes:Effective date -- 2004 c 266: See note following RCW 29A.04.575.Severability -- Effective date -- 1994 c 57: See notes following RCW 10.64.021.Severability -- 1986 c 167: See note following RCW 29A.04.049.Effective date -- 1977 ex.s. c 361: "This 1977 amendatory act shall take effect January 1, 1978." [1977 ex.s. c 361 § 113.]Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 361: "If any provision of this 1977 amendatory act, or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1977 ex.s. c 361 § 112.]Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 128: "If any provision of this 1977 amendatory act, or its application to any person or circumstance is held invalid, the remainder of the act, or the application of the provision to other persons or circumstances is not affected." [1977 ex.s. c 128 § 6.]Effective date -- Severability -- 1975-'76 2nd ex.s. c 129: See notes following RCW 29A.76.040."Precinct" defined: RCW 29A.04.121. RCW 29A.16.050Precincts Restrictions on precinct boundaries Designated by number.(1) Every voting precinct must be wholly within a single congressional district, a single legislative district, a single district of a county legislative authority, and, if applicable, a single city. (2) Every voting precinct shall be composed, as nearly as practicable, of contiguous and compact areas. (3) Except as provided in this subsection, changes to the boundaries of any precinct shall follow visible, physical features delineated on the most current maps provided by the United States census bureau. A change need not follow such visible, physical features if (a) it is necessitated by an annexation or incorporation and the proposed precinct boundary is identical to an exterior boundary of the annexed or incorporated area which does not follow a visible, physical feature; or (b) doing so would substantially impair election administration in the involved area. (4) After a change to precinct boundaries is adopted by the county legislative authority, if the change does not follow visible physical features, the county auditor shall send to the secretary of state an electronic or paper copy of the description, a map or maps of the changes, and a statement of the applicable exception under subsection (3) of this section. For boundary changes made pursuant to subsection (3)(b) of this section, the auditor shall include a statement of the reasons why following visible, physical features would have substantially impaired election administration. (5) Every voting precinct within each county shall be designated by number for the purpose of preparation of maps and the tabulation of population for apportionment purposes. These precincts may be identified with names or other numbers for other election purposes. (6) After a change to precinct boundaries in a city or town, the county auditor shall send one copy of the map or maps delineating the new precinct boundaries within that city or town to the city or town clerk. (7) Precinct maps are public records and shall be available for inspection by the public during normal office hours in the offices where they are kept. Copies shall be made available to the public for a fee necessary to cover the cost of reproduction.[2003 c 111 § 405; 1999 c 298 § 1; 1989 c 278 § 1; 1977 ex.s. c 128 § 2; 1965 c 9 § 29.04.050. Prior: 1921 c 178 § 1, part; 1915 c 11 § 1, part; 1907 c 130 § 1, part; 1889 p 402 § 7, part; Code 1881 § 3067, part; 1865 p 30 § 1, part; RRS § 5171, part. Formerly RCW 29.04.050.]Notes:Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 128: See note following RCW 29A.16.040. RCW 29A.16.060Combining or dividing precincts, election boards.At any special election or primary, the county auditor may combine, unite, or divide precincts and may combine or unite election boards for the purpose of holding such election. At any general election, the county auditor may combine or unite election boards for the purpose of holding such election, but shall report all election returns by individual precinct.[2003 c 111 § 406. Prior: 2001 c 241 § 22; 1986 c 167 § 3; 1977 ex.s. c 361 § 5; 1974 ex.s. c 127 § 1; 1965 c 9 § 29.04.055; prior: 1963 c 200 § 22; 1951 c 70 § 1. Formerly RCW 29.04.055.]Notes:Severability -- 1986 c 167: See note following RCW 29A.04.049.Effective date -- Severability -- 1977 ex.s. c 361: See notes following RCW 29A.16.040. RCW 29A.16.110Polling place May be located outside precinct.Polling places for the various voting precincts may be located outside the boundaries of the respective precincts, when the officers conducting the primary or election shall deem it feasible. However, such polling places must be located within a reasonable distance of their respective precincts. The purpose of this section is to furnish adequate voting facilities at readily accessible and identifiable locations, and nothing in this section affects the number, method of selection, or duties of precinct election officers.[2003 c 111 § 407; 1965 c 9 §29.48.005 . Prior: 1951 c 123 § 1. Formerly RCW 29.48.005.] RCW 29A.16.130Public buildings as polling places.Each state agency and entity of local government shall permit the use of any of its buildings and the most suitable locations therein as polling places or disability access voting locations when required by a county auditor to provide accessible places in each precinct.[2004 c 267 § 316; 2003 c 111 § 409. Prior: 1979 ex.s. c 64 § 4. Formerly RCW 29.57.040.]Notes:Effective dates -- 2004 c 267: See note following RCW 29A.08.651. RCW 29A.16.140Inaccessible polling places Auditors' list.No later than April 1st of each even-numbered year, each county auditor shall submit to the secretary of state a list showing the number of polling places in the county and specifying any that have been found inaccessible. The auditor shall indicate the reasons for inaccessibility, and what efforts have been made pursuant to this chapter to locate alternative polling places or to make the existing facilities temporarily accessible. If a county auditor's list shows, for two consecutive reporting periods, that no polling places have been found inaccessible, the auditor need not submit further reports 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.[2003 c 111 § 410. Prior: 1999 c 298 § 14; 1985 c 205 § 3. Formerly RCW 29.57.070.]Notes:Effective dates -- 1985 c 205: "(1) Sections 1, 2, and 13 of this act are necessary for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health, and safety, the support of the state government and its existing public institutions, and shall take effect immediately. (2) Sections 15 and 16 of this act shall take effect as provided by Article II, section 1(c) of the state Constitution. (3) Sections 3 through 12 and 14 of this act shall take effect on January 1, 1986." [1985 c 205 § 18.] RCW 29A.16.150Polling places Accessibility required, exceptions.Each polling place must be accessible unless: (1) The county auditor has determined that it is inaccessible, that no alternative accessible polling place is available, that no temporary modification of that polling place or any alternative polling place is possible, and that the county auditor has complied with the procedures established under RCW 29A.16.020; or (2) The secretary of state determines that a state of emergency exists that would otherwise interfere with the efficient administration of the primary or election.[2003 c 111 § 411. Prior: 1999 c 298 § 16; 1985 c 205 § 6. Formerly RCW 29.57.100.]Notes:Effective dates -- 1985 c 205: See note following RCW 29A.16.140. RCW 29A.16.160Review by and recommendations of disabled voters.County auditors shall, as feasible, solicit and use the assistance of disabled voters in reviewing sites and recommending inexpensive remedies to improve accessibility.[2003 c 111 § 412. Prior: 1979 ex.s. c 64 § 5. Formerly RCW 29.57.050.] RCW 29A.16.170County auditors Notice of accessibility.Each county auditor shall include a notice of the accessibility of polling places in the notice of election published under *RCW 29A.52.310 and 29A.52.350.[2003 c 111 § 413. Prior: 1999 c 298 § 19; 1985 c 205 § 11. Formerly RCW 29.57.150.]Notes:*Reviser's note: RCW 29A.52.310 and 29A.52.350 were repealed by 2004 c 271 § 193. Later enactment, see RCW 29A.52.311 and 29A.52.351.Effective dates -- 1985 c 205: See note following RCW 29A.16.140.