Illustration of pit breed dog wearing a service dog vest.

Service Animals
and Polling Places

What is a Service Animal?

  • The American with Disabilities Act defines a service animal as a "dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for a person with a disability". The work or task(s) should be related to the person's disability.
  • Service dogs may be any breed, size, or weight. They are exempt from local breed restrictions.
  • A disabled person who uses a service dog is often referred to as the dog's handler.

Rights and Responsibilities of Service Dog Users

  • Service dogs may go anywhere the public may go. This includes polling places: the voting area, ballot box, and restroom facilities, if available to voters.
  • The service dog is not required to wear a vest or leash, but it must always be under the handler's control.
  • A service dog handler is not required to provide certification, licensing, or any other type of documentation to prove that their dog is a service dog. This is because there is no documentation recognized by the federal government and no federal registry of service dogs.
  • Although no documentation is required, a person may be asked: 1) Is this dog required because of a disability? and 2) What work or task has the dog been trained to perform?
  • Don't ask that the service dog demonstrate its task or work. Performing a task when it is not needed can be confusing to the dog and undermine its training.

Interacting with Service Dogs (and their handlers)

  • Do not pet a service dog or give it attention. Doing so may make it difficult for the dog to stay focused on its task.
  • Poll workers are not required to watch a service dog for its handler. They are also not required to provide food, water, or a place for the dog to relieve itself