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Justice Department Doesn't Penalize States For Failing On Voting Act

by Dave Reynolds (subscribe)

WASHINGTON, DC--Officials with the U.S. Department of Justice are not clear about how many states have failed to upgrade their polling systems as Congress required under the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

But one thing is clear: The agency has not penalized any states, even though the deadline for upgrading is Tuesday, November 7, 2006.

Those upgrades include making sure polling places are accessible and requiring voting system alternatives that voters with disabilities can use to cast a private, confidential ballot.

According to the Associated Press, the Justice Department has filed lawsuits against Alabama, Maine, New Jersey and New York for not following the law, but those states still have until next year to comply. Other states are at varying degrees of compliance.

Despite tough new laws, U.S. states not penalized for failing to upgrade voting systems (Associated Press via International Herald-Tribune)

Copyright 2006 Inonit Publishing
Article reproduced here under special arrangement with Inclusion Daily Express international disability rights news service. Please do not reprint, republish or forward without permission.



I don't find the failure of DOJ to enforce HAVA deadlines as remarkable as they don't always enforce ADA deadlines. I've participated in making both polling sites and voting instruments accessible here in Michigan. And I've filed numerous complaints.

One good example is on the City of Flint, Michigan. It belatedly conducted its polling place accessibility surveys required by our Secretary of State, and with actually the total work of our local center for independent living.

Now they've held three elections this year alone and not one of the identified barriers have been removed. Not one inaccessible polling place has been relocated to an accessible one either.

And DOJ has been sitting on those ccomplaints for quite awhile for they also are ADA/504 issues.

Hopefully a new administration will put teeth into our civil rights enforcement agencies.

Joe Harcz

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