November 08, 2005

Access to the polls? Don't count on it

"Technically, two workers, one from each party, are supposed to assist you in voting," he said. "Now you have given your privacy away to three people. You hope that your vote was recorded according to your wishes. You hope, but you have no way of absolutely knowing for sure." Howard Kaufman, to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Kaufman has been "blind since birth," the paper reported.

In Wisconsin,

a survey of Wisconsin polling places shows about four out of 10 have serious barriers to the disabled, the state Elections Board says.

"Of the state's 2,773 polling sites, we determined 1,134 as disability-inaccessible," Kyle Richmond, the panel's public information officer, said. ...

Neil Albrecht, assistant director of Milwaukee's Election Commission, said Milwaukee probably will not meet the Jan. 1 deadline for accessibility. But he said most sites could be made to comply with accessibility standards in time for February elections with relatively simple remedies, such as portable ramps or by setting aside handicapped parking spaces.

Read Elections Board says polling places have barriers to disabled (Associated Press via Duluth News)

Nobody knows how many polling sites remain inaccessible this Election Day. A survey last winter showed that most of Indiana's polling sites still lacked access. (Read Survey: Many Polling Site Changes Needed). A survey early this summer showed half of New Jersey's polling sites to be inaccessible. (Read NJ Civil Rights Agency Finds Half of Surveyed Poll Sites Still Inaccessible).

photo of man sitting in wheelchair at bottom of flight of steps to polling site

Read about this photo.

Posted on November 08, 2005