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County Clerk Wants To Make All Voting Places Handicap Accessible
Updated February 10, 2016 7:59 AM
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(BEDFORD) - Lawrence County Clerk Myron Rainey's goal is to make all the polling places handicapped accessible for the May 3rd Primary Election.

Rainey told the commissioners on Tuesday morning that he met with a representative from Southern Indiana Center for Independent Living to learn what needs to be done to become compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

To do that, Rainey has come up with a tentative list of new precinct polling locations.

"There are a lot of issues with some of the current locations - like the Williams Community Center," Myron says. "Band-aid issues that need many, many stitches to make them ADA compliant."

At the Williams voting location, those in wheelchairs could not access the building easily because of the gravel parking lot or enter the building without the placement of a ramp.

Both Commissioner Dave Flinn and President Bill Spreen brought up that some of the polling locations on the list have been moved out of their voting districts.

According to state law that is not a problem as long as the two voting districts share a common boundary line and the polling place is no more than 5 miles from the precinct.

Commissioner Flinn asked Rainey how he was going to inform voters of all the changes.

Rainey will use the local radio stations and the newspaper to spread the word.

Commissioner Spreen has some concerns moving polling places out of their precinct.

"I have some real reservations about moving Williams to Fayetteville," he added. "A lot of people won't leave their community to go vote."

Another issue is that more poll workers will be needed.

"That is an issue at every election," Rainey says. "It is not a glamorous job."

Rainey says that many of the poll workers have been doing the job for years and either their health or other concerns will not allow them to continue.

Rainey would like to see a pay increase for poll workers, but that would be an issue for the county council to address.

Currently pole workers make $65 a day, inspectors make $110.

Rainey says that is not much when an inspector starts their day around 5 a.m. and works until after the polls close and then must stay with the voting machines while they are being transported back to the courthouse to be secured.

List of tentative polling locations:

  • Shawswick 1A and 1B - Bedford College Center on I Street
  • Shawswick 2 and 3 - Courthouse
  • Shawswick 4- which was at Bedford Baptist Temple on N Street will move to Lincoln Elementary School
  • Shawswick 5A - Wilson Park Shelter
  • Shawswick 5B - Assembly of God Church
  • Shawswick 7A and 7B - Church of God
  • Shawswick 8 - which was at the Central Church of Christ will move to Bedford Middle School
  • Shawswick 9 and 10 - Which was at the Free Methodist Church will move to Stalker School
  • Shawswick 11 - Otis Park Red Brick
  • Shawswick 12 - which was at Oolitic Town Hall will move to Dollens Elementary School
  • Shawswick 13 - which was at Dive Christian Church will move to Dollens Elementary School
  • Shawswick 14A - Community Baptist Fellowship
  • Shawswick 14B - Leatherwood Christian Church
  • Shawswick 15A and B - which was at the airport, a new location has not been found
  • Shawswick 16 - Grace Full Gospel Church will move to the Assembly of God Church
  • Marion 1 and 4 - 1st Baptist Church in Mitchell
  • Marion 2 and 3 - Mitchell Community Center
  • Marion 5A - The office building at the fairgrounds will be moved to an exhibit hall at the 4-H Fairgrounds
  • Marion 5B - Marion Township Volunteer Fire Department will move to Mitchell High School
  • Marion 5C - Pace Union Hall on Old Ind. 60 will move to Mitchell High School
  • Marion 6 - Mitchell Presbyterian Church will move to Mitchell High School
  • Bono - Camp Rivervale will move to the Mitchell Presbyterian Church
  • Guthrie - Tunnelton United Methodist Church, a new location has not been found
  • Indian Creek North and South - Fayetteville Baptist Church will move to Fayetteville School
  • Marshall 1 and 3 - will move from Valley Mission Church to Cross Road Church
  • Marshall 2 - will move from Mount Pleasant Church to Cross Road Church
  • Perry - Springville School
  • Pleasant Run - Community Building will move to Heltonville School
  • Spice Valley North - Williams Community Center will move to Fayetteville School
  • Spice Valley South - Huron Fire Barn will move to an exhibit hall at the 4-H Fairgrounds

In other business:

County resident and poll worker Don Robertson asked to address the commission about poll workers pay and polling places.

Robertson told the commissioners that Lawrence County is one of the lowest paying counties in the state.

He also informed the commissioners that he had filed a complaint with the election board about the pay, the polling places not being handicapped accessible and state required training not completed by Rainey and other inspectors, along with a list of other complaints.

"The county is at risk of lawsuits if this is not addressed," Robertson says.

Commissioner Spreen told Robertson that Lawrence County is not the only county facing these struggles.

"We are doing the best we can with what we have to offer," Spreen added.

Robertson says that there are grants available to address ADA issues and update voting facilities.

"Monroe County receives the grant every year," he added. "In Bono we had to carry those in wheelchairs into the polling places because of the 4 inches of gravel in the driveway... We have had years to get into compliance and have not done anything."

Spreen said no one in Lawrence County who wanted to vote was denied the right to vote.

"We can debate this issue all day. We are going to do better and we are working on it," Commissioner Flinn added.

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Highway Superintendent David Holmes reported crews are preparing roads to be paved this spring. They have also repaired and replaced guard rails.

Holmes reported the first phase of bridge inspections is complete.

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Sheriff Mike Branham reported that there were 108 inmates at the county jail Tuesday morning, of those 19 were females and 10 were Department of Correction holds. Branham reported the DOC holds would increase after a new law went into effect which states Level 6 felons will be held at local jails.

"We have crunched the numbers and we will see a 10 percent increase in population," Branham says. "We average a daily population of 125 that will increase to 135. That increase will impact the budget."

Sheriff Branham told the commissioners that he will be seeking three quotes on replacing the cooling tower at the jail.

Branham will seek quotes to see how much it would cost to upgrade or replace the tower and also quotes on purchasing a more efficient cooling system for the jail.

The Sheriff's Department also received a $36,000 interdiction grant.

The funds will be used to train 10 officers on finding drugs during traffic stops and purchase in-field drug testing equipment.

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Emergency Management Director Valerie Luchauer reported she attended a refresher class on emergency exercise drills.

She also met with Rep. Todd Young to address flood insurance concerns from residents in the flood plains.

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Approved a Health Department contract for the employment of Allison Moore.



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