In the year 2013, most people would expect that nearly all buildings, public venues and other sites are accessible to everyone. Under the law, most of these places are required to be accessible to people with disabilities. Unfortunately, just a day before many cities and states are scheduled to hold elections, the majority of polling places are inaccessible according to government standards.
According to a recent survey, the main obstacles that people with disabilities face at their local polling place are physical barriers, legal problems and rude election workers. Unfortunately, these findings come more than 10 years after the Help America Vote Act became law.
Of close to 900 voters with disabilities, more than 50 percent said they had difficulty trying to vote. A major problem, they said, was election workers who were less than understanding. Additionally, 40 percent of the voters who were polled could not physically access their polling place. Others experienced troubling technological problems when trying to vote.
The National Council on Disability has urged states to better train the people working at polling places on how to help voters with disabilities. They have also called for the use of voting equipment that is usable for everyone. Unfortunately, these things take time to be implemented.
Almost every citizen of this country has the right to vote in local, state and federal elections. They also have the right to be able to access a polling place in order to cast their ballot. With 70 percent of polling places across the country still inaccessable to many people, however, there is clearly a long way to go before many people in New York and elsewhere will be able to fully utilize these rights.
Source: Disability Scoop, "Voting Problems Widespread For Those With Disabilities," Shaun Heasley, Nov. 4, 2013