DECATUR, Ark. (KNWA) — Those in Decatur will now have a new place to vote next week, that’s ADA compliant.
They don’t want to go out and you can’t blame them because they have to ask for help all the time.SANDRA STEINHAUS, SENIOR CITIZEN
Senior citizen Sandra Steinhaus said she knows first hand how people her age have trouble making it to the polls because she has to use a cane to get around.
“When I was younger, I used to think why did it matter?” Steinhaus said. “As I got older, I realized these poor people can’t get up the curb.”
Benton County’s Election Coordinator Kim Dennison said a few years ago, the ADA sent a letter stating that a lot of Benton County polling places weren’t ADA compliant.
“We took it upon ourselves to go out and check all of our polling locations prior to going into this year to make sure everyone was up-to-date,” Dennison said.
Dennison said one location that had to be moved completely was the community room in Decatur, where residents had to go up a ramp that wasn’t ADA compliant to vote.
“When we found the ramp going into the building, it did not meet the standards that we needed it to,” she said. “(Decatur) Mayor Bob Tharp was great and so was the city council for helping us find a new location.”
The solution they found ended up being only 20 feet away.
“We went out there and walked it and found a couple of things that needed to be fixed,” Dennison said. “They were more than willing to do that for us.”
It was a quick fix, right in time for the March Primaries.
“We definitely do not want any voter to feel like they cannot get out and cast their vote just because they can’t get into a building,” Dennison said.
Billy V. Senior Activity & Wellness Center Director Melissa Provence said what Decatur has done is a big deal for the senior population.
Most seniors feel like they’re alone or forgot about and not apart of society, so they want to be heard.MELISSA PROVENCE, DIRECTOR, BILLY V. HALL SENIOR ACTIVITY & WELLNESS CENTER
It’s a change that helps people like Steinhaus feel included.
“I think it’s important and it would help our voting and would help the people,” she said.
Dennison said all the Benton County polling locations are now ADA compliant, and they are providing temporary signage for the places that need it.
“Benton County has worked hard to make sure all of our places are compliant,” she said.
Dennison said if you come across something you think could be better, to please them know.