NY Judge to Review Polling Places for Disabled

 

Mia’s thoughts- Last year during hurricane irene one huge problem appeared , That problem was the centres opened for refuge are the same buildings used for voting and in over 75% the disabled either couldn’t get in or were being turned away because helping them gain access was too hard and noone cared so this judgement not only has ramifications for voting but for all uses in the future no matter what they are.

 

U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts told lawyers she wants to know how voting goes Thursday at up to 40 of the city’s most troubled polling sites as a way to gauge the city’s plan to improve access for voters with disabilities

 Reposted from a story By LARRY NEUMEISTER   Monday, Sep 10, 2012  |  Updated 4:46 PM EDT

// //

 
 
 

NY Judge to Review Polling Places for Disabled

A judge who ruled last month that New York City polling places are not fit for the disabled asked lawyers Monday to provide fresh reports after primary elections this week.

U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts told lawyers she wants to know how voting goes Thursday at up to 40 of the city’s most troubled polling sites as a way to gauge the city’s plan to improve access for voters with disabilities.
 
Stephen Kitzinger, a city lawyer, outlined the plan at a court hearing Monday, saying coordinators at more than 1,300 polling sites will check periodically to ensure there are no problems. He said the coordinators will be responsible to ensure their sites are accessible to those in wheelchairs and scooters, and that workers are following the 20-step instructions they were given to ensure the Americans with Disabilities Act is followed. Each site also will have a 5-foot-long chain to make sure areas are wide enough for those who need more space.
 
Sid Wolinsky, a lawyer for several groups who sued in 2010 on behalf of the disabled, was skeptical that efforts by the city would succeed, saying it appeared the city was trying “a minor tweak to exactly what they’ve been doing before.”
 
At times during the two-hour hearing, Batts seemed to share his viewpoint.
 
“Mr. Kitzinger, you are on automatic for ‘no,'” she said at one point. “I am making a statement that your first reaction is: ‘It can’t be done.'”
 
In another moment, she said: “I agree part of the problem is everyone is responsible and no one is responsible.”
 
But she seemed to warm to the city’s views as the hearing proceeded and Kitzinger insisted that the city was serious about solving problems and listening to suggestions from groups representing the disabled.
 
Wolinsky said he thought the New York City Board of Elections was too busy with too many other things to care enough about the troubles of the city’s disabled population.
 
The judge interrupted him, saying: “I don’t get the impression the Board of Election shoves this like a stepchild into the corner.”
 
Wolinsky said he was not suggesting there was malice involved, only that there were limits to what a bureaucracy could achieve on its own.
 
In August, Batts ruled in favor of two groups representing the disabled: the United Spinal Association and Disabled In Action. The judge said the groups had shown evidence that polling places were plagued with unsafe ramps, missing signage and obstacles such as furniture blocking access to voting booths. There are more than a half million noninstitutionalized people in New York City with disabilities or vision difficulty

2 thoughts on “NY Judge to Review Polling Places for Disabled

  1. It’s unfortunate that in a Democratic country as the US, people with disabilities face such obstacles to voting. I am proud to say that whether it be a Civic, Provincial or Federal election, (Canada here) that I am always able to vote. If the centre I am to vote at does not have access then 2 things always happen, 1. a voting booth has been set up near the entrance with all the same rules that apply or 2. people bring a voting card to me and again all the rules are followed. At the end of the day I am still putting my vote into the box by my hand and my vote is being counted and heard. I hope things start to get better for your voting system.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s