Commentary by Linda Saxon. The following response to my input regarding barriers at the Verdi Club was received today via email.
November 13, 2014
Dear Ms. Saxon,
Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to you with respect to your feedback from the June 12, 2014 Provincial General Election and our investigation of it.
Elections Ontario is committed to providing accessible elections for persons with disabilities and is responsible for administering provincial elections in Ontario based on the Election Act as well as the Election Finances Act. Our priority is to serve the citizens of Ontario by overseeing the provincial electoral process, and to make the voting process a positive experience. As a result, we aim to consistently identify opportunities for improvement.
We are sorry to read of the accessibility issues you encountered with the entry door at the Verdi Club in Amherstburg, on Election Day. We apologize for the less than satisfactory experience, as we strive to provide a high level of service to each and every elector, and we appreciate your feedback in this matter.
Elections Ontario’s standard procedure for circumstances such as doors not being automated at a voting location, in accordance with the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act (AODA), is to post an Information Assistant at the entrance to assist electors heading to the polling station.
Regrettably, it appears that your polling station did not fully meet our accessibility standards. To prevent such issues from reoccurring in future elections, we are forwarding this letter, along with your feedback, to the provincial Returning Officer responsible for administering the election for your electoral district for her follow-up review. We will also take your feedback into consideration as we review our voting location selection process for future elections.
You also noted that signage at your location was poor and that the colours used did not provide adequate contrast. While we make every effort to develop clear and distinct signage for all voting locations, due to the range of locations used to administer a province-wide election, it is challenging to develop materials that are ideal for every venue across the board. For this reason, we sincerely appreciate your bringing this matter to our attention, especially with respect to how we can make signs more visible and accessible for future elections. Moving forward, we will carefully review our signage to make it as effective as possible for all electors.
In addition to providing Ontarians voting locations for casting their vote on Election Day, it may be of interest to you to know that Elections Ontario also offers several alternative methods for voting in the provincial general election, including voting by mail. For more information on these and other voting options, please feel free to visit our website at: http://www.wemakevotingeasy.ca/en/special-ballots.aspx.
We apologize for the difficulty you experienced at your voting location and we thank you for contacting us to inform us of your concerns. Your feedback is valuable to us as we continually review our voting location selection process and customer service procedures for areas where improvements may be made.