PROVIDENCE – The Rhode Island Board of Elections has today agreed to a Settlement Agreement with the United States under which it is required to promptly undertake steps to ensure that all individuals, regardless of disability, can fully access its newly leased and renovated facility at 2000 Plainfield Pike in Cranston. This agreement will remedy a number of significant deficiencies and will bring the facility into compliance with the American with Disabilities Act (ADA), announced United States Attorney Aaron L. Weisman.
This agreement follows an extensive investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office, prompted by a citizen’s complaint that the Plainfield Pike facility was not fully accessible to individuals with disabilities. Under Title II of the ADA, which prohibits discrimination against persons with disabilities by public entities, “no qualified individual with a disability shall, because a public entity’s facilities are inaccessible to or unusable by individuals with disabilities, be excluded from participation in, or be denied the benefits of the services, programs, or activities of a public entity, or be subjected to discrimination by a public entity.”
Under this Agreement, the Board of Elections is required, within 30 days, to engage the services of a registered design professional to survey the Plainfield Pike facility and to create a remediation plan to ensure that, among other things, that individuals with disabilities can readily park, enter, and exit the building, as well as ensuring their ability to access and participate in public hearings and use other facilities at the Board of Elections office. According to the Agreement, within two months the Board of Elections shall submit a design plan to the United States Attorney’s Office for approval. Upon approval by the United States, the Board of elections shall promptly select a contractor to begin work. Remediation work must be completed within six months of the execution of the Agreement.
The matter was litigated for the United States by Assistant U.S. Attorney Amy R. Romero.
The U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island is committed to investigating alleged violations of the Americans with Disabilities Act. Those interested in learning more about architectural barriers to access under the Americans with Disabilities Act may access www.ada.gov, visit the web site of the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Rhode Island at www.justice.gov/usao-ri/civil-rights-enforcement, or call the Department of Justice’s toll-free information line at (800) 514-0301 or (800) 514-0383 (TTY). Information about filing a complaint, including instructions for filing a complaint online, can be found at www.ada.gov/filing_complaint.htm.