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Progress on Voting Access for NYers with Disabilities

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Thursday, October 25, 2018   

NEW YORK – Advocates for people with disabilities say New York City has made progress in making polling sites accessible, but this coming Election Day will put that to the test.

New York City has faced lawsuits over polling sites that don't have wheelchair ramps and other accommodations for people with disabilities.

According to Susan Dooha, executive director of the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York or CIDNY, the recent primaries showed good progress toward addressing those issues.

But the record voter turnout predicted for the midterm election on Nov. 6 could strain the system.

"We are still concerned about problems getting ramps in place, with accessible voting machines working for people with disabilities, and proper set-up of polling sites," she states.

Anyone who encounters problems with accessibility on election day can contact CIDNY by email at info@cidny.org or by phone at 212-674-2300 to report the experience and get help.

While the New York City Board of Elections has made progress, Dooha says the state still has work to do.

CIDNY is part of a lawsuit against the State Board of Elections for failing to make its website accessible to people who are visually impaired.

"We are almost at the point of finalizing a settlement agreement with the state so that the Board of Elections will maintain a website that is fully accessible for people who are blind or have low vision," Dooha says.

Dooha notes that attempts by the Trump administration to undermine provisions of the Americans with Disabilities Act make this election especially important for people with disabilities.

"We also have seen continuing assaults on Social Security, on Medicare and on Medicaid, and on the Affordable Care Act,” she points out. “All of these programs are vital to people with disabilities."

Dooha sees this midterm election as critical to efforts to protect those programs.


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