Letter – Voting was an ordeal

Published 5:37 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Editor, The Smithfield Times:

Having overcome the change in precinct location, I arrived at Calvary Baptist Church on Turner Drive. I parked in front of a handicapped/disabled sign. On the sign was a number to call if assistance was needed.

After calling it and waiting 15 minutes, I got tired of waiting and departed my vehicle on my handicapped scooter. First, I encountered a sidewalk with no ramp in the immediate vicinity to the entrance, then found a handicap entrance, but the voting entrance was protected by steps.  A gentleman approached and asked if I was OK, and a lady then said handicapped people had to enter via the ramp at the other entrance. Off I went and behold, a small entrance porch with the heavy glass doors opening out, taking up most of the porch. A lady and her child held the doors open while I negotiated a left turn through the doorway.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

Then I peered down this long hallway, wondering if my scooter had enough power to go that far. Got to end of hallway and saw a sign pointing to an even longer hallway than the first. My trusty scooter held up for the journey.

I guess I looked puzzled as a person came over and pointed me to the verification table. I beat him to the draw and asked my question first: What happened to the handicapped voting assistance on the sign outside? Quick response from the voting official: Did you call the number on the sign, and what was the number you called? I have become slightly irritated by now.

On to the next station, got my ballot, voted and started to depart. Again I was asked what number I called. More than slightly irritated now, I refused the voting sticker offered, departed via the long hallway, and the big heavy double doors that open out, making my exit quite difficult to negotiate. Completed the journey and finally departed the voting precinct.

Now, I ask a simple question: Which intelligent voter registration person picked this location and entrances for handicapped personnel? Also, was this person aware how far a handicapped person must travel from their vehicle to the voting booth? Last but not least, what was the handicap sign supposed to accomplish: compliance with some obscure federal law/regulation?

I did vote. In some countries that would not have occurred.


Ray Baxter