New Jersey Voting Places And Shopping Malls Still Have Access
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 11, 2005
TRENTON, NEW JERSEY--Two studies released this week show that polling places and shopping malls in New Jersey have much yet to do to become accessible to the state's nearly one million citizens with disabilities.
In the broadest investigation the state's Civil Rights Division has ever conducted, investigators visited about 800 polling sites in 140 towns during the three major elections last year. The agency ended up sending more than 400 notices to towns informing them that their voting stations didn't comply with state and federal accessibility requirements.
The Star-Ledger reported that the most common problems included a lack of accessible parking, and little or no signage to direct people into polling places. Other problems included sites that could only be reached by stairs, tables that were too high, ramps that were too steep, and voting machines that were not usable by people with mobility problems.
"It's saying you don't matter," said Jim Dickson, vice president for government affairs of the American Association of People with Disabilities. "It's saying we think you are less than a full citizen."
For the second study, agents from the Civil Rights Division and the Division of Disability Services visited 28 of the state's largest shopping malls to see whether automatic doors were installed at main entrances and whether there was adequate signage for customers with disabilities. About one-fourth of the malls were "found to be lacking" when it came access, the report said.
"State wants polling places, malls more accessible for disabled" (Star-Ledger)