A federal judge on Friday ordered the St. Louis Election Board to make electronic machines available to the disabled for absentee voting in the Nov. 8 general election after two blind men sued the board. The lawsuit alleged that not making the technology available was a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act. U.S. District Judge Audrey G. Fleissig said the temporary restraining order against the Election Board is in effect until a decision is made on the men’s request for a preliminary injunction. A hearing is set for Oct. 13. However, the attorney for the men, John J. Ammann, said he is working with the Election Board to extend the order for electronic voting “throughout the election period.” The order applies to all people who could not otherwise vote without access to a touch-screen machine, which allows a blind person to vote with the help of audio equipment.
Ammann said election officials have been cooperative but felt constrained by a ruling by the Missouri Court of Appeals.
On Sept. 13, the appeals court upheld a St. Louis circuit judge’s decision that all absentee ballots must be placed in sealed envelopes to comply with state law.
The lack of envelopes accompanying absentee ballots cast in person at the Election Board office was the crux of Circuit Judge Rex Burlison’s decision to call for a do-over election between Bruce Franks Jr. and Penny Hubbard in their Aug. 2 Democratic primary race for state representative.