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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Middle District of Pennsylvania

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Friday, March 9, 2018

United States Attorney’s Office Reaches Settlement With Dauphin County, Pa, Over Polling Place Access For Voters

HARRISBURG - The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today a settlement with Dauphin County 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 May 19, 2015 primary election, the United States Attorney’s Office, along with an architect from the Department of Justice, surveyed a portion of the county’s polling place locations.  The survey resulted in a finding that many of the county’s polling places contain barriers to access 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. 

Dauphin 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.  Dauphin County has indeed taken steps since the May 19, 2015 election to ensure polling place accessibility.

“The right of individuals to participate in our democratic system of government includes full and equal access to polling sites,” said U.S. Attorney Freed.  “Under this agreement, voters with disabilities will now be able to cast their ballots 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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Topic(s): 
Civil Rights
Updated March 9, 2018