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Research Article  |   July 2006
Access to Polling Places in the 2004 Presidential Election: The Experience of One Metropolitan Midwestern City
Author Affiliations
  • Patricia S. Pohl, PhD, PT, is Associate Professor, Department of Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Sciences, Mail Stop 2002, University of Kansas Medical Center, 3901 Rainbow Boulevard, Kansas City, Kansas 66160; ppohl@kumc.edu
  • Katherine Froehlich-Grobe, PhD, is Assistant Professor, Department of Occupational Therapy Education, University of Kansas Medical Center, Kansas City, Kansas
  • Brian McKiernan, PhD, PT, is Associate Professor and Chair of Physical Therapy, Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Kris M. Vacek, OTD, OTR/L, is Professor and Chair of Occupational Therapy, Rockhurst University, Kansas City, Missouri
  • Michael Donnelly is Director of Policy and Outreach, Disability Rights Center of Kansas, Topeka, Kansas
  • Julia Gilmore Gaughan is Disability Rights Advocate, Disability Rights Center of Kansas, Topeka, Kansas
Article Information
Education of OTs and OTAs / Home Accessibility/Environmental Modification / Rehabilitation, Participation, and Disability / Adult Physical Rehabilitation
Research Article   |   July 2006
Access to Polling Places in the 2004 Presidential Election: The Experience of One Metropolitan Midwestern City
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2006, Vol. 60, 404-408. doi:10.5014/ajot.60.4.404
American Journal of Occupational Therapy, July/August 2006, Vol. 60, 404-408. doi:10.5014/ajot.60.4.404
Abstract

According to federal law, polling places must be accessible to persons with disabilities. The rate of compliance with these laws, however, is not known. Our purpose was to determine whether polling places in the Greater Kansas City area were physically accessible to persons with disabilities. Students, faculty, and staff members from four professional programs representing two universities completed surveys at 128 polling places on the day of the 2004 Presidential election. Over the 14 items of interest, compliance ranged from 75% to 99%. The highest rate of deficiencies was found in the lack of a ramp with a handrail to the entrance of the polling place. Only 43% of the polling places were compliant in all of the 14 survey items. Despite laws mandating that polling places be accessible to persons with disabilities, restrictions in access persist. Persons with disabilities may still find polling places inaccessible on Election Day.