NY Judge: City Polling Places Not Fit for Disabled
The judge said the plaintiffs had provided copious documentation of barriers at poll sites, ranging from unsafe ramps to missing signage and improper placement of voting equipment and furniture
The city has failed to adequately provide for disabled voters at election polling places, a federal judge ruled Wednesday.
U.S. District Judge Deborah Batts ruled in favor of two groups representing the disabled, the United Spinal Association and Disabled In Action. They had sued the city Board of Elections in 2010, saying the city was violating the Americans with Disabilities Act through "pervasive and persistent access barriers" at poll sites operated by the Board of Elections.
The judge said the plaintiffs had provided copious documentation of barriers at poll sites, ranging from unsafe ramps to missing signage and improper placement of voting equipment and furniture.
Batts said there was "pervasive and recurring barriers to accessibility" on election days at poll sites designated by the Board of Elections as adequate for the disabled.
She said federal law does not require perfection and she added that a magistrate judge can decide what remedy will work.
Stephen Kitzinger, a city lawyer, said: "We are disappointed with the decision and respectfully disagree."
According to the ruling, there are more than a half million non-institutionalized people in New York City with disabilities or vision difficulty.
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Published at 6:39 PM EDT on Aug 8, 2012
Copyright Associated Press