Election Officials Sued by Advocates Over Failure to Certify Ballot Marking Tool

The National Federation of the Blind (NFB) filed suit against the Maryland State Board of Elections (SBE) in the U.S. District Court stating that SBE’s decision not to approve a ballot marking tool is in violation of federal law. The suit is asking the Court to order SBE to provide that technology in time for the June 24 primary.

As reported by the Baltimore Sun:

The board decided April 24 to overrule its professional staff’s recommendation that it allow the use of ballot-marking technology, an electronic tool that allows a blind person or someone who doesn’t have use of their arms to mark their absentee ballots on their computers before printing them out and sending them in. Special audio systems can help disabled voters who go to the polls, but some blind and other disabled voters say they have had to ask for help in casting an absentee ballot.

The system the state rejected was not true Internet voting because a paper ballot would still have had to be sent to the board. However, the system would have allowed voters to download blank ballots to their computers and fill them out using programs designed to help them vote.

The lawsuit filed by the NFB,

…charges that the board’s decision deprives each of the opportunity to vote “privately and independently.” That, the suit says, is a violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act and another federal law.

As previously reported on Conduit Street, the SBE failed to certify the ballot marking system based on security concerns.