A judge said Tuesday that he expects to rule “very quickly” on a lawsuit seeking to force Maryland officials to implement an online ballot-marking tool for the blind, a case that could impact other states that don’t use the tool. Lawyers for the National Federation of the Blind are hoping to have the tool in place in time for November’s elections. Their lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Baltimore, contends that the state is in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act for not using the technology, which they say would safeguard blind voters’ privacy. During three days of testimony that wrapped up Tuesday, Maryland Assistant Attorney General Dan Friedman argued that officials should not be forced to use something that has not been certified by the Maryland State Board of Elections. And another advocacy group for the blind, the Maryland chapter of the American Council of the Blind, said they think the tool could be vulnerable to hackers.
… The lawsuit is opposed by the Maryland chapter of the American Council of the Blind. Attorneys for the council say the online tool is susceptible to fraud, because they argue that the online ballot-marking tool transmits votes online to a server, where they are vulnerable to hackers, who could potentially penetrate the system and see how everyone voted. “That is far from being private or independent,” said Robert Stern, an attorney for the council who also contends the tool is not accessible to blind voters.
U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett has said he plans to have a decision by the end of the week.