Milwaukee

Advocates for voters with disabilities express angst over case that’s before Wisconsin Supreme Court – Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Milwaukee, Wisconsin 2022-06-28 07:00:00 –

Monica Lopez and her son Ivan consider voting a citizen’s duty and are worried about the proceedings in the Wisconsin Supreme Court. A 30-year-old man travels in an electric wheelchair because he can’t get things done without help with his hands and feet. (Photo by O. Ricardo Pimentel)

Wisconsin rights activists with disabilities are concerned that a proceeding in the Wisconsin Supreme Court will deprive voters of their inability to cast ballots without assistance.

In past elections, voters with certain disabilities who were unable to physically drop their ballots into the drop box may usually be assisted by their family or caregivers to do so. However, a lower court ruling in January stated that voters must submit their ballots.

The case is currently being heard by the Wisconsin Supreme Court and will be decided by the end of June or early July.

Under the current ruling, cities and towns around Wisconsin cannot use ballots, and absentee balloters in the state must cast their ballots without assistance.

Disability rights activists say the ruling discourages and prevents voters with certain disabilities from throwing ballots.

Barbara Beckert, Director of Milwaukee Office Rights of Persons with Disabilities WisconsinA non-profit organization advocating for persons with disabilities in the state said the rule would prevent barriers to persons with disabilities who could not use their hands or feet.

“Many people with disabilities and the elderly have to rely on someone else to help with this,” Beckert said. “This makes it difficult, if not impossible, to return the ballot.”

Luke Berg, a deputy adviser to the Wisconsin State Law and Independent Institute, a conservative law group calling for changes to these rules, said state law was not upheld by the Wisconsin State Election Commission. He said the Commission’s enforcement of the rules issued guidance on voting operations, but none of them was binding and therefore inadequate.

Mr Berg said there are exceptions to state law that allow people with disabilities different options.

“If there is a gap, it needs to be dealt with by Congress,” Berg said. “You don’t have to change the rules for everyone across the state. That shouldn’t be the solution.”

Voters with disabilities are worried

30-year-old Ivan Israel Lopez has been voting since he was 18. He was born with cerebral palsy, his ability to speak is limited, and his mobility is also limited. He is moving around in an electric wheelchair because he can’t get things done without help with his hands and feet.

Like a vote.

In past elections, his father, Francisco Lopez Sr., helped Southside residents, actually took him to polls, helped sign an “x” on the form, and needed for Ivan to vote. I did anything.

However, Elder Lopez died in August 2020. And now, her mother, Monica Lopez, who is actively working to defend those in need of her special needs, is afraid that her son will not be able to vote. She doesn’t know if she can take him to a poll.

So they tried to fill out a form requesting an absentee ballot, but Monica Lopez said it was difficult to figure out how to fill it out.

Voters have to submit absentee ballots personally, so she’s not sure if her son can use them even on that road.

“Maybe he won’t vote unless they give him help,” Monica Lopez said when Ivan heard his head and nodded. “He knows his rights, but he needs help,” she votes.

Monica Lopez explained that when Ivan had a soft drink with a straw to drink, she and her husband taught all five children the importance of voting.

“All my kids, the first thing after turning 18, we taught them to know the right to vote,” she said. “It is not only our right, but our duty.”

Monica Lopez is a former president and current board member of Alianza Latino Aplicando Soluciones (ALAS) and has been translated into Latino Alliance Applying Solutions in English.

William Crowley, 35, is a self-proclaimed “stubborn” voter. Residents of the East Side participate in all the elections he can. Previously, I used an absentee ballot to get someone else to drop it in my mailbox. This is a must because you can’t do it yourself.

Crawley is also a Wisconsin Disability Rights Oversight Attorney. He travels using an electric wheelchair.

In April, Crowley decided he didn’t want to risk the vote being discounted. He voted directly at the polling place after a Wisconsin court banned voters from delivering ballots and stopped using ballot drop boxes.

But when he arrived, the polling place wheelchair lift wasn’t working. Polling place workers could bring his ballot and allow him to vote that way, but it’s much better to have someone help him mail it from home. It was easy.

“I just want to hear my voice about how things are done,” Crawley said. “Your vote is really important with such a small margin, especially when going down to the local level. It can really affect not only my own life, but the lives of many.”

54-year-old Patrick Gil, who lives near North 86th Street and West Bradley Lord can’t be written by yourself. His arm shakes a lot. A brain injury he suffered 10 years ago made it difficult to control his limbs. Gil also uses a wheelchair.

“My heart is still there,” Gil said. “I just need to help write.”

Gil said he likes to stay in the community, trying to keep up with political information. He believes that people should be able to help voters with disabilities with ballots.

“All votes are important,” he said.


Available resources

The Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Wisconsin Hotline can be reached at 844-347-8683.

Beckart encourages people with disabilities to contact city clerks now and seek accommodation for the disabled.

That information can be found on the MyVoterInfo page of MyVote Wisconsin. Website.. In Milwaukee, the Managing Director of the Election Commission is Claire Woodall Vog. Her office can contact 414-286-3491 or email to the following address: Voter information@milwaukee.gov Located in City Hall, 200 E. Wells St., Room 501.

Brian Peters, Independent Living Services Assistant Program Director Independence firstThe city’s disability care organization has voters with disabilities Wisconsin Disability Voting Coalition Get the latest information on the situation.



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