Disabled woman calls 911, says poll workers wouldn’t let her vote


A disabled Anderson County woman called 911 after she says poll workers at her voting precinct weren’t accommodating her needs. 

The County Voter Registration and Elections Director tells 7News they are considering relocating the precinct, that’s currently in an older building off Liberty Hwy. near Gentry Road. 

The voting location is not ideal and the county does recognize that. However, during elections the county does try to make accommodations for all voters including those who are wheelchair bound. 

On Tuesday, Sandy Hanebrink showed up at her precinct ready to make her voice heard in the Midterm Election. She tells 7News casting her ballot turned out to be a challenge. 

After looping around the building twice a handicap accessible spot opened up, but Hanebrink says the location is useless to someone in a wheelchair. 

“I can’t get out in gravel,” she said. 

Hanebrink says even if she could, the wheelchair ramp is not next to the handicap parking. 

“I guess you have to go on the street and go the length of the building, and try to go into the muddy grass again to get onto the sidewalk… then come past everybody to get back in line” Hanebrink told 7News. “I wasn’t quite sure how that was supposed to work.” 

All voting locations offer curb side voting for disabled and senior citizens. 

Poll Clerk Michael Bratcher says at his precinct they don’t have a poll clerk designated to curb side voting, so they just check it periodically. 

However, according to Hanebrink she waited 45 minutes and no one had come out to assist the curb side voters. 

“So I tried calling the Election Commission office,” she said. 

But her calls went unanswered. 

“So then I called 911, because I wasn’t sure how else we were going to be able to vote,” Hanebrink told 7News. 

Hanebrink says after the call to emergency dispatchers, she finally got to cast her ballot. 

However, Bratcher says that’s not exactly what happened. According to him, Hanebrink’s cars was blocking traffic, so he went to talk to her.

“And she said I need curb side and I said okay. I asked her had she told anybody or said anything to anybody about needing curb side assistance, and she said not she hasn’t.” Bratcher told 7News. 

Curb side voter don’t get priority over those waiting in line, but in this case they made an exception. 

“So we pushed her up to a priority,” said Bratcher. 

According to the county, all voting precincts are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act regulations. So in some cases, they have to bring-in equipment to make that happen, including mats and ramps. 

However, the Anderson County Voter Registration and Elections Director tells 7News she hopes to eventually move the precinct to a newer building, which could happen by the next election. 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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