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Advocate Says Polling Place Is Not Accessible for People with Disabilities

May 23, 2018
Source: WRDW - Augusta, GA

[News source] Augusta, Georgia. (WRDW/WAGT)

Note: Online story includes video with captions (2:14 minutes)]

An advocate for people with disabilities says the voting location at Christenberry Field House is not ADA [compliant].

Tim Hollobaugh says the location is not accessible for [people with disabilities] trying to make it from the public bus stop to the polling facility.

Hollobaugh says people have to get across traffic and when they do there’s no curb cut, ramp or sidewalk to allow a pathway from the street to the entrance of the polling facility.

There’s also a steep hill to get up with no sidewalk.

The advocate for disabled veterans says not only is it unsafe for people with disabilities, it’s against federal guidelines.

"You have to be extremely strong to get up this hill,” said Hollobaugh.

The 2016 Americans with Disabilities Act checklist for polling places says there must be an accessible route from public transportation spots to get to the entrance of the public voting facility.

Tim says he’s been asking the city to take a look at this spot for years.

"Number one it makes you angry,” said Hollobaugh.

The News 12 I-team took Hollobaugh[’s] concerns straight to the ADA compliance officer for Augusta-Richmond County, Carole Burrowbridge.

"There is a challenge there and we recognize that and we are diligently working on some solutions for that,” she said.

Burrowbridge says they’re working on solutions, but adds the ADA guidelines don’t require a sidewalk there.

“If you look at that checklist that says bus stops it’s just that one piece that says you have to have an accessible bus stop and a path from the bus stop to polling place needs to be accessible and that’s something we are looking at,” said Burrowbridge.

“We just haven’t been able to look at every bus stop near every polling place at this point.”

We asked Burrowbridge if they wished they would’ve acted earlier to look at bus stop accessibility near polling places.

Burrowbridge replied “There just wasn’t time.”

Christenberry is not a new polling place though.

Board of Elections Director, Lynn Bailey, tells us the city has used the AU [Augusta University] facility as a polling location beginning in 1998.

"Hopefully by November, we will have solutions and workarounds for citizens who rely on buses to getting polling places,” said Burrowbridge.

Burrowbridge tells us she’s been the ADA officer for one year.

Burrowbridge says the city just finished an audit of bus stops and they are aware they need remediation.

Link: Go to website for News Source

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