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Columbia, South Carolina ----- United States Attorney Sherri A. Lydon announced today a settlement with the Board of Voter Registration and Elections for Anderson County to ensure accessibility of polling locations to persons with disabilities.
The agreement requires the Board to ensure that every polling site is accessible to persons with disabilities by elections starting in 2019. The Board will provide training to all precinct coordinators on how to install and maintain any temporary measures needed to increase accessibility, such as wheelchair ramps, cones to designate accessible parking, or the placement of mats over thresholds. On Election Day and during early-voting periods, the Board must maintain in working order all facilities and equipment—including lifts, elevators, and ramps—necessary to make polling locations accessible.
Pursuant to the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), the County’s voting program, including its polling places, must be accessible to voters with disabilities. During the June 2018 primary elections, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Department of Justice reviewed 15 polling places in Anderson County and concluded that many were inaccessible to voters who have mobility impairments.
The Board cooperated fully with the investigation and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in reaching a voluntary settlement agreement, which became effective on November 9, 2018. In response to the U.S. Attorney’s Office’s initial findings, the Board expressed its commitment to making all polling locations accessible. It made improvements and continued to do so prior to the Settlement Agreement becoming finalized.
“The right of individuals to participate in our democratic system of government includes full and equal access to polling places for all voters,” said U.S. Attorney Lydon. “This agreement represents an important step toward guaranteeing voting access to all of our citizens. I commend the Board for its commitment to providing equal access to polling places and for recognizing its obligations and moving promptly to take these steps.”
This case was handled by Assistant United States Attorney Robert Sneed of the Greenville office.
Title II of the ADA prohibits public entities, such as the Anderson County Board of Elections and Voter Registration, from discriminating against people with disabilities in their programs, services, and activities. With respect to voting programs, public entities are required to select and use polling places that are accessible. To learn more about the ADA and other laws protecting the rights of voters with disabilities, log on to www.ada.gov/ta-pubs-pg2.htm or call the Justice Department's toll-free ADA Information Line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TDD).
Lance Crick (864) 282-2105