County Voting Websites Leave Voters with Disabilities in the Dark

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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 9, 2020

CONTACT:
Edie Surtees, Disability Rights Texas
Communications Director
512-407-2739
esurtees@drtx.org

SPECIAL INVESTIGATIVE REPORT –
Web Failures: How County Voting Websites Leave Voters with Disabilities in the Dark

AUSTIN—Today, Disability Rights Texas (DRTx) released a special report detailing how county voting websites are failing to comply with federal and state laws because they do not offer equal access to people with disabilities. All over Texas, county voting websites lack both critical voting information and accessible features, which result in people with disabilities failing to receive the same voting information that people without disabilities receive.

As part of a year-long effort to document the accessibility of county voting websites, DRTx – the protection and advocacy agency for people with disabilities in Texas – initiated an investigation to review and assess every county voting website in Texas. Some counties did not have any website at all, a handful had accessible websites, but the overwhelming majority of Texas county voting websites failed to provide content in a way that would allow people with disabilities, including people with visual impairments, to access critical voter information.

The investigation identified three urgent concerns:

  • Counties are not creating their websites in a way that provides equal access to voters with disabilities.
  • Counties that do not have accessible websites are failing to comply with applicable anti-discrimination laws, such as the Americans with Disabilities Act.
  • County voting websites often fail to provide requisite voting information, as required by the Texas Legislature.

To bring these concerns to the attention of all Texans, DRTx released a report called “Web Failures: How County Voting Websites Leave Voters with Disabilities in the Dark.” It provides details of the investigation, an explanation of how website accessibility works, and most importantly, recommendations that, when implemented, will ensure people with disabilities have access to the same voting information as all other Texas citizens.

“Texas is facing unprecedented challenges during the 2020 election cycle,” said Molly Broadway, Voting Rights Training Specialist for DRTx. “The pandemic has increased our use of and dependence on digital information. Now more than ever, providing equal access to the voting process for people with disabilities through county websites must become a priority.”

See attached document below for full report.

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Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Its mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society.

Attached documents