Midstate county reaches settlement to make polling places accessible

Written by Rachel McDevitt | Feb 6, 2018 4:31 AM

FILE PHOTO: A voter casts a ballot. (AP Photo/Susan Montoya Bryan)

(Harrisburg) -- A midstate county has reached a settlement with the U.S. Attorney's office to make polling places accessible for people with disabilities.

As part of a national intitiative, the Justice Department surveyed voting locations in Cumberland County two years ago and found several violations under the Americans with Disabilities Act.

The county now has 45 days to come up with a method for determining if its polling places are ADA-compliant. It must survey its polling places using that method by March 2020. 

Under the agreement, all the county's voting locations must be accessible by December 31st, 2021.

David Freed, U.S. Attorney for the Middle District of Pennsylvania, says the county has to accommodate people with disabilities in the meantime. 

"They have to have the ability--every county does--in a place that might not be accessible, they've got to make accommodations for that person to be able to vote," Freed said. 

Freed says it's important the county has the time to comply, and promote access to polling places for all eligible voters.

"Some can be easily made compliant with some simple additions; maybe a temporary ramp, or propping a door open, or some signage--things like that," Freed said. 

But others may need major renovations or to change locations entirely.

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