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Contact: Kate Shepherd
Indianapolis, IN - Indiana Secretary of State Todd Rokita says the preliminary results of accessibility surveys conducted during the November election show that Indiana's counties have made many of the changes needed to make polling places accessible to all Hoosiers. The surveys of the final half of Indiana's polling places were conducted on behalf of Secretary Rokita's office through a partnership with Count Us IN, a project of the Governor's Planning Council for People with Disabilities. This common sense approach to determining the accessibility of our polling places has been heralded as a national model.
The surveys were taken as a first step to gauge how close Indiana is to meeting the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) mandate that all polling places and voting equipment be accessible to seniors and disabled voters by January 1, 2006. The results are encouraging. The majority of polling places surveyed in November are already at least 80% compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act accessibility guidelines. That is also true statewide once the results from the surveys conducted during the primary election are considered.
Governor's Planning Council for People with Disabilities Executive Director Suellen Jackson-Boner writes in a letter this month to the county commissioners that pick polling places, "Many of the needed changes are minor. In many cases, bringing a polling place into compliance with the Help America Vote Act can be as simple as posting appropriate signage or propping open a heavy door on Election Day."
"We understand through Count Us IN that the majority of problems found were extremely minor," Secretary Rokita said. "Counties have made significant strides toward 100% accessibility and should be on track to meet the 2006 federal mandate. "