[Nfbnet-members-list] Disability Rights Ohio lawsuit claims Ohio Secretary of States voting services violate the ADA
KKuhnke at nfb.org
Tue Dec 8 14:08:19 UTC 2015
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Disability Rights Ohio
800-282-9181, ext. 101
<mailto:sbrannan-smith at disabilityrightsohio.org>sbrannan-smith at disabilityrightsohio.org
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 States 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 States website because of
the sites inaccessible design and inability to
work with screen access software. Additionally,
because Ohios absentee ballots are only
available on paper, blind voters are unable to
fill them out without assistancean infringement
on their right to cast a ballot privately and
independently. The suit asks the court to order
Secretary of State Husteds 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 states
voting systems and resources. The solutions for
the problems were 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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