Judge orders ballot tool to help blind in Maryland

AP News
Posted: Sep 04, 2014 3:39 PM

ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) — A federal judge says Maryland has failed to ensure the rights of blind and disabled people to vote privately and independently and must implement an online ballot-marking tool for November's elections.

In a case that could have ramifications for other states, U.S. District Judge Richard Bennett found that Maryland was in violation of the American with Disabilities Act.

Bennett held a three-day bench trial in Baltimore last month after the National Federation of the Blind sued the state.

Mark Riccobono, president of the National Federation of the Blind, said the order protects the fundamental rights of voters with disabilities by saying they must be able to mark an absentee ballot without being forced to request assistance. He said it puts election officials nationwide on notice about the issue.