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70% of polling places inaccessible to those with disabilities

Nov. 5 is voting day, but some people are finding that casting their constitutionally protected vote isn’t that easy. Knowing that this is a Saint Louis Social Security Disability Law Blog, it isn’t that hard to figure out that we are talking about voters who have a disability. So why are so many cities and states struggling with the idea that polling places need to be accessible?

Congress enacted the Help Americans Vote Act in 2002. Several provisions in this act were focused on Americans with a disability and specifically granted these individuals the right to vote “independently and privately.” This means including accommodations that are necessary for them to vote without assistance.

This issue is affects a large percentage of the nation’s population. In fact, Clyde Terry with the National Council on Disability noted that one out of five people across the nation have a disability. Although they make up approximately 20 percent of the population, “70 percent of polling places are still not accessible,” he said.

On Election Day in 2012, out of those that have a disability, one in five said that the voting process was difficult for them. In some cases, election workers at the polling place were rude to them or treated them in a condescending manner. In other cases, the facility itself was at issue.

As found by the National Council on Disability, another 40 percent reported that the polling place itself was physically inaccessible. Around 50 percent of voters with a disability also reported technology issues that got in the way of placing their vote on critical issues and to elect their chosen officials.

The truth is that a disability can make some things more difficult, but getting the benefits that help make ends meet shouldn’t be. Truth is that the SSD application process is incredibly complex and confusing. A SSD attorney can take the burden off the shoulders Missouri applicants and ensure that all necessary documentation has been gathered to make the process go as smoothly as possible.

Source: Disability scoop, “Voting Problems Widespread For Those With Disabilities,” Shaun Heasley, Nov. 4, 2013

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