Woman in wheelchair in Newton County struggles to vote early

She said she had to go to another polling place after the one closest to her home had no disability parking for two days in a row.

COVINGTON, Ga. – A Newton County woman said she struggled to be heard during early voting and had to make three trips to the polls to actually cast her vote.

Early voting ends on Friday. Although election signs remain at the Lake Turner Senior Center, for Kathleen Lowde, she said her exacerbation will linger.

“I feel this is a really important election. I’m glad we had an early vote,” Lowder said.

That excitement quickly turned to frustration when she couldn’t cast her vote.

“All the handicapped parking spots have been implemented,” explains Lowder.

Her life changed 30 years ago when she suffered a spinal cord injury and had to use a wheelchair. Lowder said she drove around the upscale downtown to find somewhere to park.

Lowder said: “At one point, another car with a disability tag sped up in front of me, and she pulled over and parked.

Lowder said she backed up behind that car in front of the building.

“I lifted the leg of the chair, and before I could do anything else, the officer came and said, ‘You can’t park here,’” Lowder said.

Lowder made a live video on Facebook, and in it, she alleges that a Newton County deputy sheriff blocked her from voting.

“I came back the next day, and all six of the same cars were parked in handicap spots,” says Lowder.

She then drove 40 minutes round-trip to another early voting site.

“At church, he has a disability,” Lowder said, “I want to be able to live a normal life and vote when I need to. It’s really frustrating because it’s hard enough to walk around in a wheelchair. Then it took me three tries to pass and vote – that’s unacceptable. “

Lowder hopes sharing his story can help with voting for people with disabilities in the future.

“They need to make it possible for people to vote for people with disabilities,” Lowder said.

The Newton County Board of Elections did not return multiple letters for comment. 11Alive has also reached out to the Newton County Sheriff’s Office but they have not yet returned a request for comment.

Follow state code.

The Office of the Minister of Foreign Affairs advises voters with disabilities with accessibility difficulties to contact their county elections office if this is not possible. People may also contact the Secretary of State’s office at 404-656-2871 or (V/TTY) 656-1787 for further assistance.


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