[Nfbnet-members-list] Disability Rights Ohio lawsuit claims Ohio Secretary of State’s voting services violate the ADA

Kuhnke, Kristian KKuhnke at nfb.org
Tue Dec 8 14:08:19 UTC 2015



Stacy Brannan-Smith
Communications Specialist
Disability Rights Ohio
800-282-9181, ext. 101
<mailto:sbrannan-smith at disabilityrightsohio.org>sbrannan-smith at disabilityrightsohio.org

Chris Danielsen

Director of Public Relations

National Federation of the Blind

(410) 659-9314, extension 2330

<mailto:cdanielsen at nfb.org>cdanielsen at nfb.org

Disability Rights Ohio lawsuit claims Ohio 
Secretary of State’s voting services violate the ADA

December 8, 2015

COLUMBUS, OH – Disability Rights Ohio and the law 
firm of Brown, Goldstein, & Levy, LLP, have 
a federal lawsuit against the office of Ohio 
Secretary of State Jon Husted. The suit, filed on 
behalf of three blind Ohio voters and the 
National Federation of the Blind, alleges that 
some voting services in Ohio are not accessible. 
This is in violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act.

Registered Ohio voters Shelbi Hindel, Barbara 
Pierce, and Marianne Denning are blind and unable 
to access important voting information and forms 
on the Secretary of State’s website because of 
the site’s inaccessible design and inability to 
work with screen access software. Additionally, 
because Ohio’s absentee ballots are only 
available on paper, blind voters are unable to 
fill them out without assistance—an infringement 
on their right to cast a ballot privately and 
independently. The suit asks the court to order 
Secretary of State Husted’s office to make the 
changes needed to rectify these problems before 
the March 15, 2016, primary election in Ohio.

“Voting is important to me, and I want to be able 
to read through the materials and be prepared for 
the upcoming Republican primary,” explains 
Hindel. “Current technology makes reading text 
easy for the blind, provided the text is 
available in the right format. My polling 
location recently moved to a site further from my 
house, so voting absentee is a more convenient 
way for me to exercise my right to vote.”

According to Kristen Henry, attorney at 
Disability Rights Ohio, “Secretary of State 
Husted has the responsibility to ensure that all 
eligible Ohioans have equal access to the state’s 
voting systems and resources. The solutions for 
the problems we’re raising are readily available. 
Unfortunately, our attempts to collaborate with 
the state on this issue have not been successful.”

Mark A. Riccobono, President of the National 
Federation of the Blind, said: “The technology to 
allow blind voters to mark absentee ballots 
privately and independently is available and has 
been used successfully by blind voters, myself 
included. This technology protects ballot secrecy 
and puts blind voters on an equal footing with 
all other voters, as well as helping voters who 
have disabilities in addition to blindness that 
prevent them from getting to a polling place or 
using the voter technology available there. The 
National Federation of the Blind will continue to 
fight for the right of blind people in Ohio and 
throughout the nation to vote privately and independently.”


About Disability Rights Ohio:

Disability Rights Ohio is the federally and state 
designated Protection and Advocacy System and 
Client Assistance Program for the state of Ohio. 
The mission of Disability Rights Ohio is to 
advocate for the human, civil and legal rights of 
people with disabilities in Ohio. Disability 
Rights Ohio provides legal advocacy and rights 
protection to a wide range of people with disabilities.

About the National Federation of the Blind:

The National Federation of the Blind knows that 
blindness is not the characteristic that defines 
you or your future. Every day we raise the 
expectations of blind people, because low 
expectations create obstacles between blind 
people and our dreams. You can live the life you 
want; blindness is not what holds you back.

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