Anderson County has agreed to make changes so that its voting locations are more handicapped-accessible, under a settlement reached with the U.S. Justice Department.
The agreement requires the Anderson County Board of Voter Registration and Elections ensure that every polling site is accessible to those with disabilities by the 2019 elections. It must also better train pollworkers on how to install temporary measures to help those voters, such as wheelchair ramps and working elevators.
“The right of individuals to participate in our democratic system of government includes full and equal access to polling places for all voters,” U.S. Attorney for South Carolina Sherri Lydon said in a statement. “This agreement represents an important step toward guaranteeing voting access to all of our citizens. I commend the Board for its commitment to providing equal access to polling places and for recognizing its obligations and moving promptly to take these steps.”
The Justice Department and US Attorney’s Office reviewed 15 precincts during the June 2018 primary elections and concluded “many were inaccessible to voters who have mobility impairments.”
Anderson County got brief national attention when a disability advocate called 911 after waiting more than 45 minutes outside a precinct without any assistance. Sandy Hanebrink, who uses a wheelchair, called the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office for help getting out of her vehicle.
Last week’s announcement noted the county board cooperated fully with the investigation and helped reach the voluntary settlement agreement, which became effective on November 9.