Kansas City

Concern about voting access for people with disabilities – Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City, Missouri 2022-06-15 10:20:22 –

Milwaukee, Wisconsin — Following the 2020 elections and unproven accusations of widespread fraudulent voting, several states have passed legislation restricting absentee voting. In Wisconsin, this issue is currently being brought to the state’s Supreme Court.

However, advocates of persons with disabilities claim that the restrictions are in direct conflict with federal law.

When he was two years old, Bill Crowley suffered a spinal cord injury in a car accident. Being quadriplegic never stopped him from using his voice.

“I vote for almost every election. Both larger national and local races,” Crawley said.

He needed the help of his family, friends or caregivers to put the absentee ballot in the mailbox and has always voted that way.

“Because of my spinal cord injury and quadriplegia, I can’t physically do it myself,” he said.

Trudy LeBeau in Sheboygan, Wisconsin will vote in the same way.

“I wouldn’t vote without help,” she said.

She was diagnosed with secondary progressive multiple sclerosis and was unable to move her arms and legs.

“If I participate in a poll, a pollster will have to be with me, fill out a ballot and insert it into the machine for me,” Le Beau said.

After the 2020 election, a conservative legal group challenged the use of the absentee ballot dropbox in Wisconsin and the legality of having someone other than voters mail or return the ballot.

In January, a judge in Warkisha County ruled in favor of them.

“In the Teigen case, voters themselves were not able to mail or deliver ballots,” said Barbara Beckart, director of the Wisconsin State Department of Foreign Rights for Persons with Disabilities. “Well, that’s a big problem for many people with disabilities.”

The case is currently being brought to the Wisconsin Supreme Court. However, disability rights groups have also filed proceedings, claiming that restricting absentee voting is inconsistent with the federal government’s protection of disabled voters.

“We believe that federal law protects the right of people with disabilities to receive assistance from the person they choose to return the ballot,” Beckert said.

“There is no place in Wisconsin law that prohibits you from returning your friend’s absentee ballot or putting your ballot in the drop box. It doesn’t exist,” said Scott Thompson, a non-profit Law Forward. Said. They have filed proceedings on behalf of the Wisconsin Disability Rights, the Wisconsin Women’s Voter Federation, and the Wisconsin Voice of Faith.

“Voters with disabilities have an incredibly wide set of protections in federal law, which allows them to vote, sometimes with different mechanisms,” Thompson said. increase.

Le Beau said he would lose his right to vote if he didn’t literally deliver the ballot with his teeth without assistance.

“I agree that our elections need to be as safe as possible, but not enough to take people away,” she said.

Crawley said he would do whatever it took to vote, but was afraid that others might not.

“I’m determined to vote and speak out, but for many I know that this added barrier often prevents them from voting at all,” Crawley said. Said.

The Supreme Court’s ruling could be as early as this week.

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