State inspects polling places for ADA compliance

9NEWS at 6 p.m. 11/4/16.

ARAPAHOE COUNTY - Before every ballot is counted; before every winner is picked, Judd Choate must make sure every voter can get to the polls.

"There's a federal law that requires all polling places be accessible for people who are in any kind of disability status," Choate said.

He is the state election director for Colorado within the Secretary of State's office. Choate and other members of his team are traveling from poll to poll to make sure that each site is compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

"So, I started down in Pueblo and I made my way all the way up to Fort Collins and now I'm back down to Denver," Choate said. "1,200 miles in the last 10 days."

He checks things from door width to the elevators to the angle of the wheelchair ramps.

"I would say every polling place has a problem or a potential problem," Choate said.

If he finds a problem, he talks to local officials like Matt Crane, Arapahoe County Clerk and Recorder, to address the problems. 

"One of the things that we really concentrate on is making sure that our facilities are accessible for voters with disabilities," Crane said. "It's good that we have these inspections to make sure that things keep working throughout the process."

Choate checks the voting booths, touch pads, and audio ballots to make sure anyone can vote without assistance if they want to.

"They could vote completely independently. No one would know how they voted, which is very important for people," Choate said. "They take the secrecy of their vote very seriously."

He predicts that between 5-to-10 percent of the voters coming to the polls will be disabled. Choate says he and his co-workers will have inspected about two-thirds of all the polling places in Colorado by Election Day.

"The person that's in the wheelchair or the blind man who's using a tapper to come into a voting location, that vote is just as important as my vote, as the Governor's vote, as the President's vote," Choate said.

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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