Organizations representing people living with disabilities including the National Federation of the Blind, American Council of the Blind, and the Center for Independence of the Disabled, have filed a lawsuit against the New York State Board of Elections.
What You Need To Know
- Organizations representing people living with disabilities have filed a lawsuit against the New York State Board of Elections
- Michael Robinson, a blind WNY resident, received an abstentee ballot. However, he cannot read it
- Robinson says close to 600,000 citizens could be disenfranchised if proper accommodations are not made
- He is proposing the Board of Elections consider sending ballots as PDF formats
Michael Robinson, a blind citizen who lives in Western New York, is also president of one of the largest groups for the visuallyimpaired --the National Federation of the Blind.
He recently received an absentee ballot in the mail. However, he cannot read, let alone fill out properly to vote.
"Absentee ballots have gone out to those who request them in a form that cannot be completed by somebody who is print disabled," said Robinson. "Whether it be blind, paraplegic, paralysis, and as a result they cannot have an independent private vote."
Robinson says close to 600,000 citizens could be disenfranchised if proper accommodations are not made.
He is proposing the Board of Elections consider sending ballots as PDF formats, instead of a paper ballot, similar to what is made available to those in the military and living overseas. That would allow them to use technology to help them cast their ballot, privately.
"The board of elections has made their version of concessions [for disabled] in that they have valid marking devices available," said Robinson. “However that's not a private vote. That is not absentee either. You still have to go in and vote. We want accessible absentee voting to all New York residents.
The state board of elections told Spectrum News its attorneys are reviewing the suit and declined to comment further.
Absentee Ballots go out 45 days prior their due date.
Ballots for the upcoming primary will be due on June 22, 2020.