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Local School Doesn’t Meet Accessibility Requirements for Election

By Kristen Smith
Posted Sept 26, 2011

Nottawa residents are being told to go to Ravenna to vote on Oct. 6 after Elections Ontario ruled their traditional polling station no longer meets the
province’s accessibility requirements.

Nottawa residents who voted at Nottawa Elementary School on Batteaux Road in previous elections are being directed to Ravenna Hall on election day.

“I thought it was some sort of clerical error or mistake,” said Clearview Township councillor and Nottawa resident Doug Measures.

On Wednesday, Simcoe-Grey candidate and incumbent Jim Wilson expressed “extreme frustration” about a “voter registration card fiasco” in an open letter to Chief Electoral Officer Greg Essensa.

Some Collingwood residents were advised their polling stations would be in Alliston on Oct. 6. Elections Ontario confirmed this was a data error and are
issuing revised notice of registration cards this week.

The affected electors will receive a new card marked “revised” and bearing a teal Elections Ontario logo instead of an orange one. It will direct them to
vote at Cranberry Resort.

However, the Nottawa case was not another data error and residents are still expected to make to trip to Ravenna to cast their ballots.

According to the Elections Ontario Communications Manager Cheryl Clarke, Nottawa Elementary School is no longer being used as a voting location as it does not meet its site accessibility standards.

Its site accessibility standards were developed after 2010 amendments to Ontario’s Election Act required all voting locations be fully accessible. The accessibility standards are based on Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act-draft Built Environment Standard, the City of London Facility Accessibility Design Standards, and the Ontario Building Code.

Measures says it’s “laughable” to be asked to drive more than 20 kilometres to a town in another municipality to vote when Elections Ontario claims it is
very easy to vote.

“That doesn’t make it easy, does it?” he asked, rhetorically.

Elections Ontario suggests other voting options, including voting at the returning office at 49 Hurontario St. by special ballot by Oct. 5, by mail if they
apply to do so by Friday, or at advance poll locations until 8 p.m. Friday.

Measures says he is unsure whether he will use advance polls as he typically does not.

He says people have the right to vote on election day, adding there is a great social aspect to it.

“I think our community has been denied that,” said Measures. “It’s pretty disappointing.”

More information on voting options can be found at wemakeiteasy.com

-ksmith@theenterprisebulletin.com

Article ID# 3312409

Reproduced from http://www.theenterprisebulletin.com/ArticleDisplay.aspx?e=3312409