State and Local Government News
“Every Philly Polling Place Will Soon Be Accessible to Voters with Physical Disabilities and Mobility Issues”
This November, every polling place in Philadelphia will be accessible to voters with physical disabilities and mobility issues. It’s an unexpected effect of the city’s purchasing new touchscreen voting machines, which can’t be carried up stairs because of their size and weight. As a result, city elections officials were forced to find polling places that allow the machines to be wheeled up ramps. And if the machines get ramps, so do voters with mobility disabilities.
In this current climate of heightened fears of election disruption, officials are finding it difficult to balance security and accessibility, especially for voters with disabilities, as paper ballots are the preferred voting method among election security experts. This article discusses the ways in which the recent push toward paper has caused conflict between the need for security, and for accessibility, in voting.
The app Project Sidewalk recently used a group of volunteers to assess the accessibility of D.C. and its 1,495 miles of sidewalk. Volunteers marked every sidewalk obstruction they saw on Google Maps and rated its severity. This article includes an interactive map of the results, which allows DC residents to explore the sidewalk obstructions in their neighborhoods.