Transportation to Voting Locations
Transportation to a place of voting or voter registration is allowed under specific conditions. The following guidance must be met:
- Transportation to a place of voting or voter registration is allowable and can be provided as part of an existing fixed-route or demand response service and does not impact eligibility for state or federal funding. This transportation must be provided under the normal fixed-route or demand response service structure, with the service open to any member of the general public, and not provided exclusively for the purpose of voting or voter registration.
- New or charter service specifically for transportation to a place of voting or voter registration is ineligible for state or federal funding.
- Free or reduced fares on election day are allowed but must be offered system wide which would not be subject to FTA's requirements for fare equity analysis. Fare reduction or elimination on election days or other days in which polling locations are open is also allowed, such as early voting, provided it is applied system wide and not restricted to specific locations. If a transit operator is holding a fare-free day on its fixed route service, it should ensure the same fare-free policy applies to ADA complementary paratransit.s
Temporary Service Changes
Transit operators may consider temporary service changes to make polling locations easier to reach. Changes may include more frequent service or extended service hours on days those polls are open, or special service to polling locations if they are not on an established route. Generally, special election service will not violate FTA's charter rule if it is provided fare free (and not subsidized by another entity), or if existing fixed route service is made more frequent on a temporary basis. Vehicles used must be ADA accessible, and paratransit is required for fixed routes. This type of temporary service change would not require an FTA equity analysis.
Information and Registration Materials
The placement of non-partisan election information and voter registration materials, or voter registration tables at transit stations is allowed, if the placement or distribution of materials does not interfere with the transit service of the location, it generally will be regarded as a permissible incidental use of the station. Materials must be placed in ADA accessible locations. NCDOT recommends locations outside of fare gates, so they are easily accessible to the public.
Ballot and Registration Drop Boxes
It generally will be regarded as a permissible incidental use of the station if the placement of the ballot or registration receptacle does not interfere with transit service. Receptacles must be placed in ADA accessible locations. NCDOT recommends locations outside of fare gates, so they are easily accessible by the public.
Maps and Wayfinding
Transit operators may consider temporary signage directing riders to stops located near polling places or where voter registration or ballot drop-off boxes are located. Transit operators should be conscious of Title VI and ADA obligations and may have to make information available in a language other than English and in ADA accessible formats.
Coordination With Election Authorities
Early coordination between transit systems and local election authorities is strongly encouraged by NCDOT. This can ensure that polling sites are in locations that are easily accessible to transit.
Most transit operators interact with the public outside the transit system itself. At public engagement meetings or any event where written materials are distributed, meeting organizers can consider promoting voter registration and participation by providing non-partisan voter registration forms and voting information.
FTA Transit Programs Increase Access to Voting