Thursday, June 12, 2008

Voting Accessibility Problems in Ireland

See this dispatch, which begins:

Voters with disabilities have complained about lack of access to a number of polling centres in today’s referendum on the Lisbon Treaty.

It was claimed that about 30 voters could not vote at a polling station in south Dublin, because it did not have a wheelchair ramp available.

Fine Gael councillor Mary Mitchell O' Connor said it was “disgraceful” that voters with disabilities had been turned away from the polling station at Knox Hall, Monkstown.

"Many of the residents from Cheshire Homes were very upset when they could not vote. They did not see an advertisement which was placed in papers alerting them to the fact that Knox Hall was not wheelchair accessible.

“In fact I did not see this advertisement myself,” Ms Mitchell O’Connor said. Returning officer, County Sheriff John Fitzpatrick, later arranged for the Cheshire Home residents to vote elsewhere.

“Knox Hall or any other hall should not be used unless suitable ramps are provided for voters with disabled,” Ms Mitchell O'Connor said.

“The Government spent €50 million on electronic voting yet they are not able to provide simple ramps at polling stations Surely all voting stations should have wheelchair ramps.

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