GAO: Elderly, disabled voters still confront access problems

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Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is the chairman of the Labor, Health, and Education subcommittee
Sen. Tom Harkin (D-IA) is the chairman of the Labor, Health, and Education subcommittee

The Department of Justice should do more to ensure that elderly and disabled individuals have voting access, a recently released report found.

The Government Accountability Office, at the request of a number of U.S. senators, conducted a nationwide survey on Election Day last year to determine whether states had met the goals for voter access laid out in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) of 2002. Released Tuesday, the report shows that strides have been made over the last few years, but in some areas of the country, barriers still remain for elderly and disabled individuals. For example, 46% of polling places surveyed in the report had voting systems technically considered “accessible,” but that could still pose problems for people in wheelchairs. Sens. Herb Kohl (D-WI) and Tom Harkin (D-IA) released the report.

The new report is the latest in a series examining the Department of Justice's efforts to ensure elderly and disabled voter accessibility. The next report, scheduled for release in November, will examine voting practices in long-term care facilities.


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