Boone County Polls Get Boost

1 decade 1 year 10 months ago Thursday, December 15 2005 Dec 15, 2005 Thursday, December 15, 2005 10:01:12 PM CST December 15, 2005 in News

The money will improve services for senior citizens and people with disabilities.  Not all of Boone County's polling locations are handicapped-accessible, according to a survey by Services for Independent Living.

"Some people had a very difficult time even approaching the polling place, particularly if they used a wheelchair," said Tarzie Hart of Services for Independent Living. "Some of the parking lots at churches and schools were not paved so, if it was wet or muddy, they had to go across this to get to the door."

Hart says there are some things that could be done to improve accessibility, such as providing transportation which includes vehicles with wheelchair lifts.  Ballots could be in braille for people who can't see or who have other vision problems.  And interpreters could be at a few polling stations to answer questions from deaf voters.

The study also found some polling places, like Rock Bridge Elementary School, don't have automatic doors, which makes it almost impossible for some people to enter the building.  But, that could change thanks to the Help America Vote Act of 2002.

"Secretary Carnahan established a competitive grant program to help distribute that to the county clerks. But when it goes to the counties, it's ultimately up to the county clerks to decide how that money's used," said Communications Director Mike Seitz.

Boone County Clerk Wendy Noren won't comment on the federal funding.

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