Alabama Absentee Voting Challenge
National Federation of the Blind v. Merrill
Lawsuit filed by the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama and three voters against Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill (R) challenging Alabama’s absentee voting process. The plaintiffs allege that Alabama’s absentee voting process is inaccessible for blind voters and voters with print disabilities (a disability that impairs a person’s ability to read or write). According to the plaintiffs, “Alabama is one of the top eight states in the country for its percentage of residents with vision impairments (3.3%).” The plaintiffs allege that Alabama is violating Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by failing to “meet their obligations to provide blind and print disabled voters with an equal opportunity to vote by absentee ballot is an ongoing violation of the ADA and its implementing regulations” and failing “to provide blind and print disabled voters with an equal opportunity to vote by absentee ballot.” The plaintiffs note that Remote Accessible Vote-By-Mail (RAVBM) systems are available in other states to provide voters with an “opportunity to cast their votes through accessible electronic absentee ballots” and ensure privacy and independence. The plaintiffs also point out that Alabama offers electronic ballots to overseas and military voters but does not provide this option to blind voters and voters with print disabilities. The plaintiffs request that the court prohibit the Alabama secretary of state from violating the ADA and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act by implementing a RAVBM system.