Disability Access Lagging at Polling Places


Reposted from a story By Danny Lewis

Voting site for November 2013 election in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn. (Stephen Nessen/WNYC)
New York City officials are calling for the Board of Elections to make it easier for people with disabilities to vote.

In May, a federal appeals court ordered the Board to improve access to polling places, but a new report by the Public Advocate’s office and the Center for Independence of the Disabled in New York (CID-NY) said changes are lagging. Public Advocate Letitia James said that inadequate signage and locked doors on access ramps were just a few of the problems preventing some people with disabilities from voting.

“Clearly, the fact is there was not a lot of space, there were room changes, there were no coordinators,” James said. “There was no one in charge and a significant number of individuals unfortunately were not allowed to exercise their franchise, which is their basic right.”

The report said that many of these issues can be easily and inexpensively fixed. The report also recommended that the Board of Elelctions develop specific agreements and standards with the Department of Education, which oversees polling places at public schools. Susan Dooha, CID-NY’s Executive Director, called on the Board of Elections to swiftly comply with the federal ruling.

“The New York City Board of Elections has yet to address fundamental structural reforms that will change the voting experience for people with disabilities and make it an equal experience,” Dooha said.

Board of Elections executive director Michael J. Ryan said that the board is working with schools to make sure they meet federal disability requirements, and is updating training for site coordinators. Both a primary and a general election are scheduled for the fall.

Author: disabledaccessdenied

I am a disabled woman who through no fault of my own has wheels under my ass. I rely on the decency and common sense of local, state and federal goverments, as well as the retail community to abide by the disabled access laws and provide adequate ramps, disabled toilets, and not use them as store rooms or broom closets. This blog exists to find the offenders and out them, inform them, and report them if necessary and shame them into doing the right thing when all else fails.

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 )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ 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 )


Connecting to %s