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Thread: Accessibility and voting polls

  1. #1
    Distinguished Community Member Sunshine's Avatar
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    Default Accessibility and voting polls

    Yesterday I voted .

    It was at the local church. There were no stairs to enter the door which was high off the cround, maybe chest to head high , I will go back and look.

    There was not enough room on the land dedicated to the ramp. So, it was quite steep. A wheelchair would be dangerous, and impossible to self propel. Going down would be too dangerous, it would go out of control.

    For me, steep inclines are hard to walk up, unless I do them backwards or side step. I did it backwards. Lesson learned: do early voting cuz itís in a different and more manageable facility. Gunshy about absentee, due to Roses experience this year.

    It made me wonder about the steepness of the ramp. Before gently letting the Supervisor of election know, I thought to run it by you all.

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    Distinguished Community Member agate's Avatar
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    The ADA has strict regulations about the slope of a wheelchair ramp. A ramp can't be pitched at too steep an angle. BUT there are a jillion exceptions to the rules. Your polling place might have qualified for one of the exemptions.

    I've encountered some impossible ramps, usually too steep. Sometimes if there's a bump, I can't get the chair over the bump.

    I haven't been near a polling place since about 1981 but have probably voted in every election. I'm signed up for an absentee ballot, and I get one for every election that comes along. I think Rose may have had exceptionally rotten luck, or maybe states differ in how efficiently they handle absentee ballots. In WA and OR I never had a problem.
    Last edited by agate; 08-29-2018 at 08:12 AM.
    MS diagnosed 1980. Avonex 2002-2005. Copaxone 6/07 - 5/10.
    Member of this MS board since 2001.

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    Luckily my polling place is at an accessible school campus so I have no problem but many of my disabled friends live in govt accessible housing yet their polling place is not accessible which makes no sense. I saw in the news that some politicians want to shut down inaccessible polling places until they are made accessible but I saw some people saying that this would hurt non white voters somehow...I don't get the connection to non white voters because many, many disabled people are non white so if anything it will help the minority communities if non white disabled voters could actually get inside the polling place. Unless I'm missing something here....
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/astrokeofendurance.php

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    Distinguished Community Member Sunshine's Avatar
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    They oughta just make thme accessible and fast, rather than shut em down!

    I found that for every 1 inch of height of the top of the ramp, the ramp should be 12 inches long. So at my place, if the door is 4’ high, the ramp should be 48’ long. No way it was anywhere close to that length. I will measure it this week and then contact elections supervisor with info.
    Last edited by Sunshine; 08-29-2018 at 01:46 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by funnylegs4 View Post
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    Luckily my polling place is at an accessible school campus so I have no problem but many of my disabled friends live in govt accessible housing yet their polling place is not accessible which makes no sense. I saw in the news that some politicians want to shut down inaccessible polling places until they are made accessible but I saw some people saying that this would hurt non white voters somehow...I don't get the connection to non white voters because many, many disabled people are non white so if anything it will help the minority communities if non white disabled voters could actually get inside the polling place. Unless I'm missing something here....
    Yes, you're missing something. This was in Georgia. All of the polling places they wanted to shut down were in all-black districts. All those polling places were open for years. Black people with disabilities managed just fine with there not being accessible bathrooms in those places. Closing them would have meant people would have to travel miles to get to one of the two remaining polling p!aces left --both in white districts.

    This would have meant voter registrations would have to be redone, long long lines at the polls, long distance travel....all very difficult if not impossible for poor black people with limited means, both in money and time.

    This plan was NOT in deference to people with disabilities but rather an attempt to disenfranchise people, suppress the vote. The plan was proposed and supported by a bunch of white men, intending to impose it on a minority group.

    Thankfully it was voted out unanimously and the guy proposing it lost his job and the consulting contract that came up with it.

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  11. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunshine View Post
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    Yesterday I voted .

    It was at the local church. There were no stairs to enter the door which was high off the cround, maybe chest to head high , I will go back and look.

    There was not enough room on the land dedicated to the ramp. So, it was quite steep. A wheelchair would be dangerous, and impossible to self propel. Going down would be too dangerous, it would go out of control.

    For me, steep inclines are hard to walk up, unless I do them backwards or side step. I did it backwards. Lesson learned: do early voting cuz it’s in a different and more manageable facility. Gunshy about absentee, due to Roses experience this year.

    It made me wonder about the steepness of the ramp. Before gently letting the Supervisor of election know, I thought to run it by you all.
    Churches and other private facilities are exempt from the requirements of the ADA. Your call to your supervisor should be to request that the site be moved to a more accessible location. Public facilities that were already built when the ADA was passed are exempt until such time as they sell, or remodel theirstructure, at which time it has to be made accessible. But even then, as someone already said, there are a zillion exceptions.


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    I don't know what problems Rose had, but I've been voting absentee now for several years without any issues. The ballots get to me weeks before the election, with all the instructions right there, and clear. I fill them out, pop them back into the postage paid envelope, and mail it back.

    Here in Wisconsin, if a disabled person gets to a poll and finds it not accessible, they are allowed to call in, and two pool workers will come out to the car, ballots in hand, stand by while the person fills them out, seal them in an envelope, and return inside.

    My polling place is accessible --a ground level school. It does not have an accessible bathroom,though....

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    Distinguished Community Member Sunshine's Avatar
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    Where do they call in? Some central number? That’s interesting!

    When I got into the room, luckily I brought my own seat to sit on, a light weight handicap stool, because there ere no chairs in the check in area. Then it was a longish walk, about 40 steps to out the finished ballot in the machine. I asked if they cud do it for me, to steps I had already used up I the ramp.

    That stumped them. Luckily there was a clerk there who directed two people to walk together fornthe 40 steps and had me watched whole time.

    I don’t think they’re set up for accessibility problems. Maybe most disabled people do absentee ballots.

    But the clerk was a stately older African American woman with a strong and quiet demeanor. After the ballot was done she said, “Bless you.”—- it’s a southern thing....

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    Quote Originally Posted by Catdancer View Post
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    Yes, you're missing something. This was in Georgia. All of the polling places they wanted to shut down were in all-black districts. All those polling places were open for years. Black people with disabilities managed just fine with there not being accessible bathrooms in those places. Closing them would have meant people would have to travel miles to get to one of the two remaining polling p!aces left --both in white districts.

    This would have meant voter registrations would have to be redone, long long lines at the polls, long distance travel....all very difficult if not impossible for poor black people with limited means, both in money and time.

    This plan was NOT in deference to people with disabilities but rather an attempt to disenfranchise people, suppress the vote. The plan was proposed and supported by a bunch of white men, intending to impose it on a minority group.

    Thankfully it was voted out unanimously and the guy proposing it lost his job and the consulting contract that came up with it.
    Thank you! Yeah I definitely didn't see that part of the story. Yuck! Especially if disabled people could still vote in those locations just fine. If a polling place has to be made accessible a portion of it should remain open and functional until changes are complete. Voting should be the most accessible thing in the country yet it is not.
    Mild Spastic Diplegia Cerebral Palsy and bad proprioception.
    My website for my original short films! http://cripvideoproductions.com/astrokeofendurance.php

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  18. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sunshine View Post
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    Where do they call in? Some central number? That’s interesting!

    When I got into the room, luckily I brought my own seat to sit on, a light weight handicap stool, because there ere no chairs in the check in area. Then it was a longish walk, about 40 steps to out the finished ballot in the machine. I asked if they cud do it for me, to steps I had already used up I the ramp.

    That stumped them. Luckily there was a clerk there who directed two people to walk together fornthe 40 steps and had me watched whole time.

    I don’t think they’re set up for accessibility problems. Maybe most disabled people do absentee ballots.

    But the clerk was a stately older African American woman with a strong and quiet demeanor. After the ballot was done she said, “Bless you.”—- it’s a southern thing....
    Yes, here you call the county clerks office, who relays the call to the polling place in question. They did the posting of your ballot correctly....two people (one from each party), you watching to be sure they didnt switch ballots, or deface it in any way, until it was safely in the ballot box. Gotta love those southern nicities!!��

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