- Associated Press - Friday, October 28, 2016

NAMPA, Idaho (AP) - After a U.S. Department of Justice found a Nampa polling place is inaccessible to voters with disabilities, Canyon County officials are working to make sure everyone can get inside to vote.

Canyon County Clerk Chris Yamamoto is proposing a second entrance at the Southside Methodist Church after the DOJ found the church’s ramp was too steep and lacked handrails, The Idaho Press Tribune reported (https://bit.ly/2eiO1tk).

The church was the only location of the 25 Republican primary polling locations surveyed in Canyon County that could not be remedied with temporary fixes. The compliance review took place in March and was the first of its kind in Idaho. It also looked at polling places in Ada County, where it found that none of the 27 locations surveyed during the Republican primary election were fully compliant.

In a letter sent to Canyon County on Aug. 17, Assistant U.S. Attorney Jessica R. Gunder said that unless the county intends to make permanent changes to the polling site, it must be moved to a more accessible place.

Yamamoto replied Sept. 2 and said that finding a new polling location would be difficult given time constraints. Yamamoto plans to present his plan for a second entrance at the polling place during a telephone meeting with the U.S. Attorney’s office in Boise later this week.

If an entrance solution for the church isn’t feasible, Gunder said the county could rely on curbside voting, where voters can be hand-delivered ballots to their parked cars.

“(Curbside voting is) not something that can be permanent,” Gunder said. “They ultimately need to provide access to their polling places.”

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Information from: Idaho Press-Tribune, https://www.idahopress.com


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