Voting Locations Need to Be ADA Compliant
With spring election season underway, political figures are dominating the news cycles. One issue that might not get as much attention but remains extremely important is how polling locations comply with ADA standards.
One polling place in Augusta County, Maine made news recently for its lack of ADA compliance, which meant certain people with disabilities could have a difficult time getting in to vote. All public locations need to be ADA compliant, but this issue is especially important around election season, when people of all ages and conditions are flocking to these public polling places to cast their votes. No voters can be legally prevented from voting due to disability discrimination.
Augusta County put a temporary ramp in place to help people in wheelchairs or with other disabilities get up a set of stairs. However, the ramp’s presence also made the edge rail lower for people walking up the ramp.
The ramp was put into place because Augusta County was recently sued by the Department of Justice for a variety of ADA violations. It cost $28,000 to make the sites ADA compliant. The DOJ inspectors were tipped off about violations at polling sites in 2013. These violations were present at 21 of 25 voting precincts in the county. The county finally settled the lawsuit on January 20 of this year.
However, there are critics who are not happy with how the County decided to solve the violations. The ramps put into place at polling sites are temporary and, according to some, not of particularly high quality. These critics say there should be permanent fixes put into place at these public locations.
Inspectors were seen at polling sites in Augusta County taking pictures of ramps and signs to note their placement and quality. A couple of the signs had to be moved to be compliant with ADA standards.
It is important your location meet all ADA standards, including signage requirements, if it is to be meant for any public use, including voting. For more information about how to get ADA-compliant signage, contact us at Erie Custom Signs.