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Citizens with Disabilities

SAME DAY VOTING

METHOD OF SAME DAY BALLOTING FOR VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES WHOSE ASSIGNED POLLING PLACE DOES NOT HAVE ACCESSIBLE: PARKING, EXTERIOR ROUTE, ENTRANCE OR INTERIOR ROUTE TO THE VOTING AREA

The voting regulations for the City of Springfield Election Commission are promulgated by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and are overseen by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Office of the Secretary of State.

Same day voting is allowed in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, and therefore in the City of Springfield, under emergency exemption (inaccessible polling place), after all attempts to provide assistance to a handicapped voter have been exhausted. Under the emergency exemption the handicapped voter may vote by absentee ballot on the day of the election in the Election Commission office without applying in advance.

Note: The Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires the City of Springfield Election Commission to maintain a list of permanently disabled voters subsequent to their executing a statement of disability from a physician. An absentee ballot application is then automatically mailed to those voters not later than twenty-eight days before any election.

CURB CUTS

PROCESS OF SOLICITING AND RECEIVING INPUT FROM PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES REGARDING ACCESSIBILITY OF SIDEWALKS, INCLUDING REQUEST FOR CURB CUTS, ETC.

The City of Springfield, Mayor's Office for Citizens with Disabilities, has posted on the City of Springfield, Department of Health & Human Services web site, the grievance procedures for individuals to follow in filing complaints relative to ADA. If the complaint involves sidewalks and/or curb cuts the Department of Public Works sidewalk/curb cut complaint form will be issued and the timetable of the grievance procedures will be followed.

The City of Springfield, Department of Public Works, has posted on their web site a sidewalk/curb cut complaint form. When a written complaint is received by the Department of Public Works the Director of the Mayor's Office for Citizens will receive notification and monitor the process of resolution.

ADA ENFORCEMENT GUIDE

The City of Springfield, Mayor's Office for Citizens with Disabilities, has posted on the City of Springfield, Department of Health & Human Services web site, the grievance procedures for individuals to follow in filing complaints relative to ADA. If the complaint involves sidewalks and/or curb cuts the Department of Public Works sidewalk/curb cut complaint form will be issued and the timetable of the grievance procedures will be followed.

The City of Springfield, Department of Public Works, has posted on their web site a sidewalk/curb cut complaint form. When a written complaint is received by the Department of Public Works the Director of the Mayor's Office for Citizens will receive notification and monitor the process of resolution.

SPRINGFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT GUIDE FOR LAW ENFORCEMENT OFFICERS

When In Contact with People Who are Deaf or Hard of Hearing

As a law enforcement officer, you can expect to come into contact with people who are deaf or hard of hearing.

Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990  prohibits State and local government from discriminating against an individual with a disability. Municipal and State police and county sheriff departments are bound by this Federal law. Your office has adopted a more detailed policy regarding law enforcement officers' communication with people who are deaf of hard of hearing. You should become familiar with this policy.

What does title II require of you when interacting with persons who are deaf or hard of hearing?

Among other things, your communication with such an individual must be as effective as your communication with hearing people.

How do you communicate? Provide aids or services as necessary to ensure that the deaf or hard of hearing individual understands what you are saying and that you understand him or her. These include:

  • use of qualified sign language or oral interpreters for people who are hard of hearing, speaking loudly and clearly, and use of assistive listening devices (to amplify sound)
  • use of gestures or visual aids to supplement oral communication an exchange of written notes or use of a computer or typewriter.

What method of communication should you use?

The law requires you to give primary consideration to the individual's preference. Ask how the person wishes to communicate.

For example, some people who are deaf do not use sign language and may need to use a different aid or rely on lipreading. In one-on-one communication with an individual directly, and should ensure that the communication takes place in a well-lighted area.

Honor the individual's choice unless it would significantly interfere with your law enforcement responsibilities or you are confident that other means of communicating, that may be easier to provide, are just as effective. Remember that deaf or hard of hearing persons must be able to understand you as well as those who do not have hearing impairments.

DO NOT ask a family member or friend to interpret for a deaf individual unless it is urgent to communicate immediately and that is the only option. If the deaf person requests that arrangement and the other person agrees, however, you can proceed.

How do you know when you are communicating clearly to an individual who is deaf or hard of hearing? Ask the person to summarize what you are saying. Test his or her understanding.

If the person uses sign language, what kinds of communication require an interpreter? Consider the length, importance, and complexity of the communication, as well as the context.

  • In a simple encounter, such as checking a driver's license or giving directions, a notepad and pencil or perhaps gestures will normally be sufficient.
  • During interrogations and arrests, a sign language interpreter will be often necessary.
  • If the legality of a conversation will be questioned in court, such as where Miranda warnings are issued, a sign language interpreter may be necessary. You should be careful about misunderstandings in the absence of a qualified interpreter. A nod of the head may be an attempt to appear cooperative in the midst of misunderstanding, rather than consent or a confession of wrongdoing.
  • In general, if an individual who does not have a hearing disability would be subject to police action without interrogation, then an interpreter will not be required, unless one is necessary to explain the action being taken.

Contact numbers for your local sign language interpreters:

Mass Commission for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing
Emergency Line - 1(800) 249-9949
Interpreter Services - 1(617) 740-1688
Massachusetts Relay Service Calls-1(800) 439-0183










Page last updated:  Monday, June 03, 2013 03:29 pm