Blind Voters Sue Florida County Over Inaccessible Voting
By Dave Reynolds, Inclusion Daily Express
July 5, 2005
DELAND, FLORIDA--Blind voters have sued Volusia County over its recent decision to purchase voting systems that are not accessible to them, the Associated Press reported.
The suit, which was filed in U.S. District court in Orlando on Tuesday, claims that the Volusia County Council violated Florida law, along with the 1990 federal Americans with Disabilities Act, by not purchasing some touch screen voting systems. Those systems allow voters that cannot read to listen to instructions on private headsets so they can cast a secret ballot.
The Council rejected a contract with Diebold Election Systems to buy some touch screen ballots, instead choosing optical scan ballot machines. Some Council members said they were uncomfortable with Diebold's machines because they do not create paper print-outs.
"The fact of the matter is accessibility is required by law," James Gashel, a spokesman for the National Federation of the Blind, told the Associated Press. "Paper trail isn't required by law . . . We're not going to back up an inch as far as accessibility is concerned."
County election supervisor Ann McFall said her attorney would ask the judge for guidance on what to do next.
Volusia County's polling system was in the spotlight following the November 2000 presidential election, as election workers were seen closely examining punch card ballots for "hanging", "dimpled" and "pregnant" chads.
"Volusia blind voters sue for touchscreen voting" (Tallahassee Democrat)
"Volusia rejects touch screens" (Orlando Sentinel)
"Bureaucrats disable help for disabled" (Orlando Sentinel)