A federal appeals court on Monday resurrected a lawsuit against Secretary of State Jon Husted that was filed by blind voters claiming Ohio’s paper absentee ballots illegally force them to rely on others to vote. The Cincinnati-based U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturned a ruling by the lower U.S. District Court in Columbus that found in favor of Mr. Husted. The lower court found the remedies proposed by blind plaintiffs would have fundamentally changed Ohio’s voting system. On appeal, a three-judge panel of the 6th Circuit, all appointed by Republican presidents, found the lower court should not have simply accepted the secretary of state’s arguments on the matter. It sent the case back for further proceedings.
“Without proof that the proposed [Americans with Disabilities Act] accommodation is unreasonable or incompatible with Ohio’s election system, defendant’s defense based on an allegation alone is insufficient,” Judge Richard Allen Griffin wrote.
The plaintiffs had suggested a system similar to that in Maryland and Oregon. Blind voters may receive and fill out absentee ballots via the Internet or other electronic means. Ballots, however, still have to be printed out and mailed in order to be counted, according to Jessica P. Weber, Baltimore attorney for The National Federation of the Blind, a plaintiff in the case.
Mr. Husted’s office contended this would fly in the face of Ohio’s system in which all voting machines and related materials must be examined and approved by a bipartisan board of voting machine examiners.
Full Article: Court sides with blind voters over Ohio – The Blade.