December 8, 2020

Hoosiers Who Are Blind Sue Indiana Over 'Discriminatory' Vote-By-Mail System

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
Indiana disability advocates say the state is not providing reasonable, necessary accommodations to its vote-by-mail system for blind voters.  - Justin Hicks/IPB News

Indiana disability advocates say the state is not providing reasonable, necessary accommodations to its vote-by-mail system for blind voters.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

A group of Hoosiers who are blind say Indiana’s vote-by-mail system doesn’t allow them to vote privately and independently at home. And they’re suing the state over it.

Indiana allows Hoosiers with disabilities to vote by mail. But those ballots are paper only. Indiana Disability Rights legal director Tom Crishon said that means Indiana law requires voters who are blind to use a traveling board.

“This is two individuals who come to your home and complete the ballot for you," Crishon said. "So this is, in essence, forcing voters with vision disabilities to forfeit their right to private and independent ballot.”

Crishon emphasized the lawsuit isn't seeking to expand the vote-by-mail system – like other, unsuccessful suits have done this year. Instead, Crishon said the solution is more simple: use the same system Indiana already has for overseas and military voters – casting a ballot by fax or email.

“It would be very easy to adapt that system to include voters with relevant disabilities,” Crishon said.

Crishon said disability rights advocates have told the state for months about the problem and have been ignored.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

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