The DRTx voting rights team is working tirelessly to take legal action to ensure that the election process is accessible to people with disabilities.
In July of this year, we released the results of a year-long investigation into the accessibility of Texas county election websites. We found most of them to be out of compliance with legal requirements for accessibility. After releasing the report and informing county officials, our voting rights team then sent letters to the counties with low or no compliance asking for a plan of action for fixing their website issues. Those counties that did not respond were named in a U.S. Department of Justice complaint filed in September. We are currently awaiting a response from the DOJ.
Disability Rights Texas is also representing the National Federation of the Blind of Texas and the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities in a lawsuit about accessible mail-in ballots. As it currently stands, Texas uses paper mail-in ballots for most voters and these are inaccessible to people who are blind or have print disabilities. But there is an electronic solution to this problem and Disability Rights Texas is litigating the issue to make mail-in ballots accessible to everyone. Everyone has the right to vote privately and independently.
Additionally, in just the past week DRTx has filed two amicus briefs in support of two different lawsuits challenging the Texas governor’s order that limits mail-in ballot drop boxes to one per county. We find the order to discriminate against people with disabilities and the elderly, especially those who live in large counties who would have to drive miles to drop off their ballot. While a federal court eventually upheld the governor’s order in one lawsuit, we are awaiting the decision in the other lawsuit at the time this blog post was published.
We will continue to take action in the days to come to ensure the rights of Texas voters with disabilities are protected.