davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
[personal profile] davidgillon

Presiding officer at polling station: "You're the one who raised the issue last year with the double doors being too narrow for wheelchairs if only one is open, aren't you? I did raise it, but now someone's stuck a sign on the other one saying 'do not open this door'".

OTOH they did fix* the issue with one of the inner double doors before I'd finished voting. It was propped open with a large armchair, which meant I had to slalom around it and come at the doorway from an awkward angle, which would have blocked a power chair or mobility scooter if it could get past the outer door. And the presiding officer walked out with me to be sure I could get out this time - last year I could get in but not out as the differing approach angles ran me into the door frame one way but not the other, this year I have a slightly narrower chair.

*By propping both doors open with large armchairs {Le Sigh}.

It sort of illustrates the problems with polling station access. The building is a school, and my guess is the left-hand outer door is broken, so rather than fix it, they just keep it bolted shut because kids and able-bodied teachers can get through the right-hand one without issue. But a polling station has to be accessible to a lot more people, some of whom will be using mobility aids that are too wide for the single door. I can report the problem to the Electoral Registration Officer until the cows come home, but he can't actually make the school fix the issue.

I suspect the school is generally fairly clueless on access issues. There are two kerb cuts onto the paving in front of the doors, one is half-blocked by a large planter at the top....

Date: 2017-06-09 03:57 pm (UTC)
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita
I tried to remember to look out for this at my polling station. Since the church hall was completely remodelled a couple of years ago, it now looks like it's genuinely step-free access. The doors are fully open, and are wide enough to get a power chair in. There are lower-height booths, (though the clearance underneath is limited, so it's probably bloody awkward to get a scooter or bigger chair close in), but I'm not completely sure it would have been easy to reverse out without running something over. (Mind, actually getting to the polling station is another matter - the pavements nearby are very narrow, and it was bin day, so obstacles all over the place. (You too can complete the slalom before voting!)
Not sure how easy it would be for people with other disabilities.

Date: 2017-06-09 05:03 pm (UTC)
hilarita: trefoil carving (Default)
From: [personal profile] hilarita

Date: 2017-06-09 08:13 pm (UTC)
sovay: (Otachi: Pacific Rim)
From: [personal profile] sovay
last year I could get in but not out as the differing approach angles ran me into the door frame one way but not the other

It's like a fish trap for wheelchair users! That is not okay.

Date: 2017-06-10 11:36 am (UTC)
lilysea: Oracle 3 (Oracle: thoughful)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
Some of the access issues at polling places that irk me:

That time the polling place (a Primary school) had non-accessible toilets, but the accessible toilet was locked and no-one had a key.

When there is no shade for people to queue in. (With long queues, sunburn/heat exhaustion becomes a real risk here in Australia.)

When there is no seating for queuing people - not everyone can stand for 20-30 minutes, especially in heat.

Date: 2017-06-11 03:54 pm (UTC)
lilysea: Oracle 3 (Oracle: thoughful)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
When I used to vote in Canberra, 20-30 minutes queuing standing in full sun was common.

(Australia has compulsory voting, and usually uses primary schools as polling places... and sets it up so that people are queing on the sunny, seatless bitumen playground.)

If you're organised and prepared to vow that you can't make it to a polling place on the day due to travel or work, there ARE pre-polling places where you can vote ahead of time - still 20-30 minute queues, but at least you'll be indoors in airconditioning. (Pre-polling places are usually indoor shopping centres or office spaces.)

Disabled access to voting places is terrible here, most disabled people do postal votes.

The Australian Electoral Commision website lists polling places as "accessible" when what they mean is "send in an ablebodied friend to ask, and a AEC employee will come out to your car with a voting ballot and let you fill in the vote and take it away with them"

Every election, the Disability Access Wall of Shame facebook group has an argument between people saying

a) "all polling places should be accessible (and if they're primary schools, why aren't they accessible for kids and parents already anyway)"

vs people saying

b) "why make life harder for yourself than it needs to be, just do a postal vote".

Date: 2017-06-11 06:13 pm (UTC)
lilysea: Oracle 3 (Oracle: thoughful)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
I strongly think that all polling stations should be accessible,

but I do a postal vote because it takes me 2-3 hours with internet access to fill out a ballot form (looking up candidates, reading policies, and ordering preferences.)

Most recent election I had to preferentially order something like 43 candidates.

(You can vote "above the line" eg Greens 1, but then you don't get a say where your preference goes. If you vote "below the line", you have to number all the boxes, even if there are 50 or 70 boxes...)

Date: 2017-06-13 04:05 pm (UTC)
lilysea: Serious (Default)
From: [personal profile] lilysea
This is for the senate ballot (where the UK has the House of Lords, we have the senate.) I think many people just vote "above the line" - number 1 in a box above the line, done.

Even voting below the line, it wouldn't take me anywhere near as long if not for the brain symptoms of chronic fatigue syndrome.

For the house of representatives, you DO have to number every box, but there are usually only 6 candidates.

Date: 2017-06-11 01:00 pm (UTC)
jesse_the_k: sign reads "torture chamber unsuitable for wheelchair users" (even more access fail)
From: [personal profile] jesse_the_k
Thank you for advocating at the same time as you're voting. (Double the stress).


davidgillon: A pair of crutches, hanging from coat hooks, reflected in a mirror (Default)
David Gillon

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