Lawsuit filed in Wisconsin by people with disabilities over absence of electronic absentee ballots

by | Apr 17, 2024

A lawsuit filed on Tuesday in Wisconsin alleges that voters with disabilities are being unfairly denied the option to cast their ballots electronically for the upcoming Aug. 13 primary and November presidential election. The lawsuit claims that this failure to provide an electronic ballot option is discriminatory and unconstitutional.

The lawsuit aims to mandate electronic absentee voting as an option for individuals with disabilities, mirroring the accessibility afforded to military and overseas voters. According to the lawsuit, current Wisconsin law perpetuates unequal treatment of people with disabilities, presenting significant obstacles to their participation in absentee voting.

The plaintiffs argue that in order for Wisconsin to adhere to various state and federal laws concerning accommodation and equal access, voters with disabilities must be granted the option to vote electronically. Electronic voting will ensure equitable treatment for people with disabilities compared to other voters, according to the lawsuit.

Because absentee voting in Wisconsin primarily involves paper ballots, many individuals with disabilities face challenges in casting their votes independently, the lawsuit states. The availability of electronic voting would enable people with disabilities to vote privately, addressing this issue, according to the lawsuit,

The lawsuit contends that the failure to offer electronic absentee voting for individuals with disabilities constitutes a violation of both state and federal constitutions, as well as the Americans with Disabilities Act and the federal Rehabilitation Act. The latter prohibits discrimination based on disability by all organizations that receive federal financial assistance.

In 2022, a federal court ruled in favor of disability rights activists, asserting that the Voting Rights Act extends to Wisconsin voters who need assistance with mailing or delivering their absentee ballot due to a disability. This decision overturned a previous ruling by the Wisconsin Supreme Court, which stipulated that only the voter themselves could return their ballot in person or via mail.

The latest lawsuit was filed against the Wisconsin Elections Commission in the Dane County Circuit Court by four voters, along with Disability Rights Wisconsin and the League of Women Voters.

Four of the last six presidential elections in Wisconsin were determined by margins of less than a percentage point, the state's Supreme Court is set to hear arguments next month regarding a case aiming to reverse a prior ruling that prohibited absentee ballot drop boxes.

Source: Fox News



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