United States Attorney’s Office Reaches Settlement With Luzerne County Over Polling Place Access For Voters
SCRANTON- The United States Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Pennsylvania announced today a settlement with Luzerne County under Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 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 Bruce D. Brandler, in the November 3, 2015 general election, the United States Attorney’s Office along with an architect from the Department of Justice surveyed 52 of the county’s 180 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. Thus, the ADA requires Luzerne County to select and use polling places that are accessible.
Luzerne 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 is the foundation of our democracy,” said U.S. Attorney Bruce D. Brandler. “We applaud Luzerne County’s commitment to ensure 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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