United States Attorney’s Office Reaches Settlement With Cumberland County Over Polling Place Access For Voters
HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today a settlement with Cumberland County, PA, under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act to improve physical accessibility at the county’s polling places for individuals who use wheel chairs and other mobility aids, and for individuals who are blind or have vision impairments.
According to United States Attorney David J. Freed, in the April 26, 2016 primary election, the United States Attorney’s Office, along with an architect from the Department of Justice, surveyed 52 of the county’s 118 polling place locations. The survey resulted in a finding that many of the county’s polling places contained barriers for persons with disabilities. Title II of the ADA prohibits discrimination on the basis of disability by a state or local government in any of its programs or services, including its voting program. Thus, the ADA requires Cumberland County to select and use polling places that are accessible to persons with disabilities.
As a result of the survey’s findings, Cumberland County is working collaboratively with the United States Attorney’s Office to make all polling places accessible. Under the terms of the agreement, the county will use an evaluation form for each current and prospective polling place based on ADA architectural standards. The settlement requires the county to either relocate inaccessible polling places to new, accessible facilities, or to use temporary measures such as portable ramps, signs, traffic cones and doorbells, where appropriate to ensure accessibility on Election Day.
“The right to vote should not be impeded, as it is the foundation of our democracy,” said U.S. Attorney Freed. “We commend Cumberland County for their cooperation in meeting their ADA obligations so that all persons with disabilities have equal opportunities to vote in person at their polling places alongside their neighbors.”
This investigation was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Michael J. Butler with the assistance of the United States Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division (Disability Rights Section). Those interested in finding out more about the ADA can access the ADA website at www.ada.gov.
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