Miami-Dade Voters Stuck In Long Lines Can No Longer Use Polling Place Restrooms

| by Jonathan Wolfe

During the 2012 elections, reports poured in from all over the country of people waiting in line for upwards of nine hours to vote. For voters living in Miami-Dade County, this problem is about to get worse.

While no one knows how long lines will be at Miami-Dade polling places come next election cycle, we do know this: regardless of how long the lines are, no one will be allowed to use the restroom.

The county’s elections committee quietly implemented a policy earlier this year to close bathrooms at all polling locations on election days. Ironically, the change was made in response to a request from lawyer Marc Dubin for the elections committee to look into whether polling places provide adequate access to restrooms for people with disabilities.

When the elections committee realized they weren’t providing equal restroom access, they took the easy way out of the problem. Instead of fixing the access problems, they decided to forbid everyone from using the restroom. I guess that technically counts as equal access.

When Dubin filed the request, he said “I was expecting them to say either yes we have or yes we will [provide equal bathroom access].”

Instead, he received a letter saying “the Department’s policy is not to permit access to restrooms at polling sites on election days…public and private facilities are used as polling sites on election days.  Private facilities are governed by private landlords, not the County. This policy was implemented to avoid situations where accessible restrooms would be available to some, but not all voters.”

Now, as Dubin says, “Their result is that everyone, even those without a disability, even those voting at a facility that has a restroom that is accessible, will not be allowed to use it.”

Sources: Sun-Sentinel, Think Progress