Voting rights watch: Florida’s bathroom blockade

In their incessant quest to find ever more creative and nasty ways to suppress the vote, Florida Republicans have come up with a doozy. Not only will voters have to wait in long lines, they won’t be able to use a bathroom during the wait! [I’m sorry, but that deserves an exclamation point.] As you may remember, in 2012, voters in Florida’s Miami Dade County—whose early voting options were severely curtailed by new rules—stood in lines at polling places as long as six hours. This time around, under the newer, more insane and inhumane rules, the long wait could become even more unpleasant, because there will be no potty breaks.

Here’s the full story, as told by Reader Supported News:

Earlier this year, the Miami-Dade County Elections Department quietly implemented a policy to close the bathrooms at all polling facilities, according to disability rights lawyer Marc Dubin. Dubin said the policy change was in “direct response” to an inquiry to the Elections Department about whether they had assessed accessibility of polling place bathrooms to those with disabilities.

“I was expecting them to say either yes we have or yes we will,” Dubin said.

Instead, he received a written response announcing that the county would close all restrooms at polling places “to ensure that individuals with disabilities are not treated unfairly,” a January email stated. “[T]he Department’s policy is not to permit access to restrooms at polling sites on election days,” Assistant County Attorney Shanika Graves said in a Feb. 14 email.

…Dubin said he was “shocked” at this response, and not just because it suppresses the vote for everybody. The Americans with Disabilities Act also requires entities to make “reasonable accommodations” to those with disabilities. For those with a number of conditions, including diabetics and those taking diuretics, closing the restroom will make standing in that line impossible, and thus discriminate against disabled voters.

So, they’re doing under the guise of “not discriminating against disabled voters,” while, coincidentally and simultaneously making it even more difficult for anyone to vote? Gee, that’s thoughtful. I’m sure there are many puns to be made around this ridiculous new twist in voter suppression, but I’m not going to make them, because this is an outrage that defies humor.