The photo on the right has been circulating around the disability studies community. For the benefit of those using screen readers (and those not familiar with the iconography of accessibility), here is a description: The Obamas are talking to each other behind several voting machines so that only their heads and shoulders can be seen in the photo. On the wall directly behind them, there is an orange, black, and white poster which reads “Polling Place” and which gives location, date, and times. On the left-hand side of the poster, that is, over the right shoulder of Michelle Obama who is on the left-side of the photo, there is a very clearly visible universal access symbol with a slash through it. Did the Obamas vote at an inaccessible voting location?
Perhaps someone who resides in Illinois would let readers of this blog know (or, uhh, confirm) what indeed the symbol on the poster conveys. While I heard tv commentators report on problems at polling stations concerning long waits, voting machines breaking down, etc., I do not recall any elaboration or even any mention of the problems presumably encountered by disabled people who tried “to exercise their democratic right” in the recent US election, though I did hear a CNN commentator read comments submitted by an elderly man who pointed out that polling stations should be equipped with rest areas, benches, etc. for the benefit of senior citizens who cannot stand in line-ups for long periods of time.
Thanks to Liat Ben-Moshe for alerting the disability studies community to this photo.
UPDATE: Photos of another inaccessible polling station used in last week’s US election can be found here: http://feministphilosophers.wordpress.com/2008/11/04/the-sound-of-silence/#comments