Chicago Will Have Accessible Polling Sites for Disabled Voters by November 2018 Elections

The Chicago Board of Election Commissioners has been involved with the U.S. Department of Justice and Equip for Equality for the last ten months in an effort to evaluate what needs to be done to ensure that every Chicago voter is able to cast a ballot.

The U.S. Department of Justice was contemplating a lawsuit to make sure that the City of Chicago made voting accessible for all, including the disabled. According to the report on the threatened lawsuit and the headway made in resolving this dispute, it was noted that some polling places and early voting sites failed to pass muster under the federal voting accessibility laws that went into effect in 2016.

The City of Chicago should be required to modify polling places to ensure all disabled and handicapped voters are able to cast their election ballots. In some polling places, measures are needed to build ramps, widen doorways and make sure that doors are not difficult to open for voters who are blind or seated in wheelchairs.

Both Illinois law and the federal Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) require all polling places to be accessible to voters with disabilities. In the spring of 2016, the U.S. Department of Justice evaluated polling places and early voting sites around the country. The department reviewed more than 100 polling sites in Chicago. The Department of Justice found that many sites in Chicago have architectural barriers, which make them inaccessible to voters in wheelchairs. Some voters with other mobility problems, as well as voters with vision impairment, may also have difficulties in accessing these polling places. The Chicago Board of Elections retained Equip for Equality to evaluate 1,000 Chicago polling place sites.

In order to resolve this matter by settlement, the election board is required to continue to work with Equip for Equality or another third party to inspect polling places and determine if they need to be moved or modified. Assistant U.S. Attorney Patrick W. Johnson represented the federal government in this case.

Kreisman Law Offices has been handling civil trial matters, civil jury trials, business disputes, probate litigation and catastrophic injury cases for individuals, families and businesses for more than 40 years, in and around Chicago, Cook County and its surrounding areas, including Palatine, Orland Park, Naperville, Tinley Park, Schaumburg, Schiller Park, Flossmoor, Elmhurst, University Park, New Lenox, Joliet, Barrington, Romeoville, Chicago (Rogers Park, Andersonville, Hyde Park, Chinatown, Wicker Park, Bucktown, Hegewisch), Bolingbrook, Deerfield and Inverness, Ill.

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