Not all polling sites are created equal, which is why the Center for Independence of the Disabled, New York (CIDNY) is looking for volunteers to inspect polling sites and determine how well they can accommodate the disabled in the upcoming primary election.
CIDNY conducted their most recent survey in November of 2015 to find that out of 43 sites inspected, 88% of them had at least one barrier to entry for disable voters. Problems included too-narrow doorways, not enough space within the polling location for wheelchairs to maneuver, and haphazardly installed temporary ramps. Sometimes, lack of proper signage failed to direct voters to the alternate accessible entrance, which can effectively bar eligible voters from filling out their ballots.
Oddly enough, the percentage of polling sites with barriers has generally gone up in the 12 years CIDNY has conducted these surveys. The November 2014 survey only identified barriers in 69% of the 62 sites inspected.
Monica Bartley, Community Outreach Organizer with CIDNY, says she has identified four polling locations in Bushwick for inspection. If you would like to make sure every resident, regardless of their mobility, gets a chance to vote in the upcoming elections, you can attend one of two training sessions to learn what to look for when inspecting a polling site for ADA compliance.
The training sessions are on April 12th at 2:30 p.m-4:00 pm and Saturday April 16th at 10:00 am -12:00 pm. Volunteers only have to go to one, but they do have to RSVP by either calling (646)442-4152 or emailing [email protected].