City blows deadline to make all polling places accessible, deeply frustrating disabled voters 30 years after ADA became law

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners was ordered to make every polling place compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act nearly six years ago, but it still hasn’t done so.

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BUSean
BUSean
196 · 16 days ago · Reddit

and a third of the city’s 50 wards had no sites considered compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

that's very bad.

chicago_bunny
chicago_bunny
106 · 16 days ago · Reddit

For several election cycles, I was part of a group of volunteers who go out to check accessibility of voting sites. There really are some tough issues to crack, but sometimes it's also the people running the polling place just not being mindful of what they need to do.

Some examples:

  • A high school gym was used as a polling place. Poll workers put the voting booths up on a stage, accessible only by stairs, because they thought it was better for privacy.

  • A fieldhouse at a park was used. The building had been updated to include a ramp separate from the main entrance. The poll workers set up their working table that they sat at so that it blocked entry via that door.

  • Another school used its auditorium for voting. The building was old, and the slight downhill grade to get to the voting booths, plus the narrow space between the chairs to create an aisle, meant people with walkers, in wheelchairs, or who were just unsteady on their feet were either blocked or struggled to get to the booths.

And there are obstacles before you get to polling places too. For example, another park fieldhouse was new and fully accessible. However, there was construction on the sidewalks leading up to the building that made it very difficult to traverse for all but the fully able-bodied.

It's a tough problem in a city this big, but it needs to be solved.

Soulia
Soulia
23 · 16 days ago · Reddit

And hence we lose a bunch of polling site options - and in our case making someone go 4 blocks away due to having stairs to reach the room where the voting takes place.

Resulted in about a 50% decline in voters for our Precinct for both Junes and Nov's vs previous comparable elections.

Deadended
Deadended
12 · 16 days ago · Reddit

Improving this is important. But I really hope they don’t pick the solution of removing voting locations as the cheap fix.

itsfish20
itsfish20
10 · 16 days ago · Reddit

My wife is an architect, she is the only one in her office that has her ADA compliance certification or w/​e it's called. The amount of buildings in this city that are not up to ADA code is ridiculous and she is always pointing them out to me!