I-TEAM UPDATE: Polling location changes after accessibility complaints

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Tuesday, April 16, 2019
News 12 at 6 o'clock/NBC at 7

AUGUSTA, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) -- Augusta is thinking of closing down two polling sites after our I-TEAM investigation revealed complaints about problems for people with disabilities.

It's the lack of sidewalk and bus stop placement around Christenberry Fieldhouse that's concerning the board of elections.

Ashley Jackson did get help from Augusta University after News 12 aired a clip a year ago showing her route home from Christenberry Fieldhouse. But, she says the larger issue is not having a sidewalk along Wrightsboro Road and inaccessible bus shelters.

"Everything is the same as before," said Jackson.

After hearing complaints, the board of elections is considering no longer using Christenberry Fieldhouse or Crawford Avenue Baptist Church as polling locations.

"If we can make a move that leaves voters in a better position than they were before we are all about doing that," said Lynn Bailey.

The elections director says they are hoping to make a decision before the 2020 presidential election. Legally, they have to notify voters if they change locations, 60 days before the election. the board of elections promised to take action a year ago.

“The board of elections tries to do it's utmost best to make sure the facilities that they choose are not just legally correct but they also are morally correct," said Bailey.

This is a step forward but it's not the progress Ashley would like to see.

"I think overall the bigger issue needs to be considered about accessibility in Augusta because I guarantee you it's not just there,” said Jackson.

The concern at Crawford Ave Baptist is the ramp that is too small to fit some wheelchairs according to the director of elections.

They are considering moving polling place from here at Christenberry to the Freidman Library.