Where did the Obamas vote in this week’s US election? (UPDATED)

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


5 thoughts on “Where did the Obamas vote in this week’s US election? (UPDATED)

  1. The polling station pictured at Feminist Philosophers is not inaccessible; there is another, main entrance which is at ground level.

  2. Dear Anne “JJ” Jacobsen,
    if there is in fact a *main* entrance which is accessible, it seems odd that you would use these photos of an *auxiliary* entrance to show that few people were at the poll, that there were no line-ups, etc. Why wouldn’t you show us the main, accessible entrance where presumably more people would be waiting in line? If there is a wheelchair-accessible entrance, which is the main entrance, why wouldn’t or didn’t you at least mention that there could be many others at the poll, that is, there could be many disabled people at another entrance? Don’t they count? Come to think of it, is that what you consider universal access (which was the crux of my post)? Something like: One entrance for all people and additional, exclusionary entrances for only some people? Is that equality? What kind of equality is that? Separate but equal(ity)?

  3. Shelley, I’m so puzzled by your assumption that a building that size would have only this little entrance. In fact, the main entrance is up by the church, of which this is in effect a part, and the spaces around there are reserved – mostly for disabled people, but I think the clergy also have spaces there. Most of the parking is across the street and so most people use the door nearest that parking lot.

    When I pulled in, there were no cars in the reserved spaces, and so I assume no voters going in the other entrance. In fact, when I went inside, there were about 3 people voting. There was zero indication of there being anyone at the other entrance.

    I expect you still have questions, though.

    It is interesting that you choose to link my name with my sign in name on the other blog. The last time I saw that done the person doing it was removed from the blog.

  4. JJ wrote:
    “It is interesting that you choose to link my name with my sign in name on the other blog. The last time I saw that done the person doing it was removed from the blog.’

    It can’t be any more interesting or controversial than the fact that you have used my birth name in your message above rather than the name I use to sign in here, which is “stremain”.

  5. To follow on my previous post, let me say that I have no intention of continuing to engage in an exchange with Anne JJ Jacobson.

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