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National Federation of the Blind of Alabama, et al. v. John H. Merrill

Alabama’s absentee ballot program is inaccessible to blind voters and voters with print disabilities. It requires those voters to secure another person’s assistance to complete their absentee ballot – forfeiting their right to vote privately and independently.

The SPLC and its co-counsel filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind of Alabama and individual Alabamians asserting that Alabama’s inaccessible absentee voting system violates the Americans with Disabilities Act and the Rehabilitation Act.

Alabama excludes blind and print disabled Alabamians from its absentee voting system because its absentee ballots are transmitted, marked and returned entirely on paper. To comply with federal law and to provide Alabamians who are blind or have a print disability an equal chance to vote privately and independently by absentee ballot, Alabama must offer accessible electronic ballots that voters can read and mark on their own computers or smart devices using their own assistive technology.