Waterbury to Ensure that Polling Stations are Accessible to People with Mobility Disabilities
(STL.News) Leonard C Boyle, Acting United States Attorney for the District of Connecticut, today announced that the government has reached a settlement agreement with the City of Waterbury to ensure that people with disabilities can physically access polling locations.
This settlement agreement resolves a complaint filed with the U.S. Department of Justice stating that the City of Waterbury was using polling sites that were inaccessible to people with disabilities. After receiving the complaint, the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and Connecticut’s U.S. Attorney’s Office spoke with city officials and people with disabilities, surveyed polling locations, and reviewed information provided by the city. The investigation determined that certain polling locations in Waterbury did not fully comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements, including excessively sloped parking areas, narrow doorways, steep ramps, and inaccessible door hardware. These noncompliant features rendered the city’s voting program inaccessible to voters with certain disabilities.
“Every voter has a fundamental right to vote in person at his or her local polling place, and this settlement agreement protects this right by ensuring voting access to Waterbury’s polling places to individuals with mobility disabilities,” Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle said.
Acting U.S. Attorney Boyle noted that the City of Waterbury cooperated in the investigation and voluntarily entered into the agreement. The city has already made improvements to bring the polling locations into compliance, and the agreement is effective for two years during which time the U.S. Attorney’s Office will monitor the city’s compliance.
This matter was handled by Assistant U.S. Attorney William M Brown, Jr., of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, District of Connecticut, and Senior Trial Attorney Elizabeth Johnson, of the U.S. Department of Justice, Civil Rights Division, Disability Rights Section.
Any member of the public who wishes to file a complaint alleging that any place of public accommodation or public entity in Connecticut is not accessible to persons with disabilities may contact the U.S. Attorney’s Office at 203-821-3700.