Arkansas P&A Criticizes Inaccessible Voting Location

voters in polling place in Arkansas, including gentleman in wheelchair

by Andy Jones
October 31, 2016

An early voting location in Jefferson County, Arkansas is inaccessible to people with mobility disabilities attempting to cast their ballots, advocates alleged at an emergency county Election Commission meeting held October 24.

Under the Department of Justice’s Americans with Disabilities Act regulations, voting booths designated for people with disabilities must be surrounding by a minimum five-foot turning space, to allow for people with wheelchairs to enter and leave the booth independently.

When advocates with Disability Rights Arkansas originally examined the room, located at the county courthouse, last month, they viewed the room empty with a single voting machine. But when examined this past week, the room had 12 voting machines, as reported by KATV.

As such, the voting machine is stationed just three feet away from a wall and three feet from the door to the voting room, according to the Pine Bluff Commercial

“The way it is set up right now, it is currently not in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act,” Christian Adcock, an advocate with Disability Rights Arkansas, told KATV at the Election Commission meeting, which also heard concerns relating to voter privacy, identification materials and campaign literature, among other issues.

The DOJ’s Civil Rights Division has produced an “ADA Checklist for Polling Places,” which can be read here.

You can read more information on the efforts by the National Disability Rights Network to protect voting rights for people with disabilities, and you can help #CripTheVote, by watching and sharing voting videos by Rooted in Rights, a project of Disability Rights Washington.

Disability Rights Washington and Disability Rights Arkansas are the designated protection and advocacy agencies in Washington and Arkansas, respectively, and are members of the National Disability Rights Network.

Photo by Rev. Jesse Turner of Pine Bluff Interested Citizens for Voter Registration