Voters Sue California Counties And Secretary Of State Over
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
March 8, 2004
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA--Three disability advocacy groups and eleven voters with disabilities filed a lawsuit Monday against California Secretary of State Kevin Shelley and four separate counties for violating their right to cast a secret ballot.
The American Association of People with Disabilities, the California Council of the Blind Inc., and the California Foundation for Independent Living Center filed the suit claiming that the counties of Los Angeles, Sacramento, San Francisco and Santa Barbara did not provide electronic touchscreen voting systems in the March 2 primary election.
According to the lawsuit, Shelley directed all California counties last November to have voting machines that produce paper printouts in place by July 2005. The plaintiffs claim that their rights were violated because the existing machines used by voters with disabilities do not produce a paper trail. The groups want to make sure accessible voting methods are in place by the November general election.
"The point of this lawsuit is to remedy the violations of federal law that occurred on March 2 and make sure they don't happen again this November," attorney John McDermott said.
Touchscreen voting systems allow voters who are blind or visually impaired to cast a ballot privately and independently, using a headset voice prompter and touch keypad. Voters with limited mobility can tap the screen with a closed hand or a stylus.
The Help America Vote Act of 2002 set specific guidelines for states to make their election places and voting systems accessible to people with disabilities.
"Help America Vote Act of 2002" (League of Women Voters of California)