American Council of the Blind of Indiana v. Indiana Election Commission
Indiana voters with print disabilities can now use their own assistive technology to cast their absentee ballot privately and independently, due to a historic settlement agreement reached in January 2023.
As a result of the settlement, the state has agreed to acquire a new remote accessible ballot marking tool that will allow these voters to cast their absentee ballots privately and independently. Once the ballot has been marked, voters will be able to submit it via email. The tool will be available to voters in time for the May 2023 primary election. Read the settlement agreement.
The federal lawsuit was filed in December 2020 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana against the Indiana Election Commission and the Indiana Secretary of State. The Indiana Election Division was added to the lawsuit in October 2021. The Court has granted two preliminary injunctions against the State defendants striking down Indiana’s rule that absentee voters who could not independently mark their own ballot may vote absentee by mail only by appointment with a “traveling board” of elections officials. The Court also extended the latest preliminary injunction through the May 2023 primary election while a legislative amendment removing that requirement is sought.
In the meantime, eligible voters who want to exercise the new remote accessible ballot marking tool option should apply for an absentee ballot. The absentee application can be accessed by logging into the Voter Portal and selecting “Voter With Print Disabilities.” Alternatively, voters with a print disability can complete and submit a PDF version of the form. Absentee voting, commonly known as early voting, begins April 4, 2023. Election Day is May 2, 2023. Voters may contact their county clerk’s office to see if their county will hold an election this year.
Plaintiffs American Council of the Blind of Indiana, Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission, Kristin Fleschner, Rita Kersh, and Wanda Tackett were represented by DRA and Indiana Disability Rights. Learn more about the ways to vote in Indiana.
- February 1, 2023: Settlement Agreement Creates Accessible Absentee Voting Options for Indiana Voters With Print Disabilities
- September 27, 2022: Federal Judge’s Ruling Improves Absentee Ballot Access for Voters with Disabilities in the General Election
- March 10, 2022: Federal Judge Strikes Down Indiana’s Mandatory Absentee Voter Traveling Board as Discriminating against Voters with Disabilities for May 2022 Election
- December 3, 2020: Blind Hoosiers File Lawsuit Against the Indiana Election Commission and the Secretary of State
- March 20, 2022: Journal Gazette
Opinion – Voting Insight
- March 11, 2022: Tribune-Star
Editorial – A Victory for Voting Rights during Perilous Times
- March 11, 2022: Indiana Lawyer
Federal Judge Makes Traveling Voter Boards Permissive, Not Mandatory, in Win for Blind, Print-Disabled Voters
- March 11, 2022: Indiana Public Media
Hoosiers Who Are Blind Score Legal Victory over Absentee Voting Rules
- March 10, 2022: Tribune-Star
Federal Judge Strikes Down ‘Mandatory Absentee Traveling Board’ Provision
- December 23, 2020: Public News Service
Blind Voters Sue State of Indiana to Improve Voting Access
- December 16, 2020: Times-Mail
Bedford Woman Joins Fight for Better Voting Access
- December 8, 2020: WFYI
Hoosiers Who Are Blind Sue Indiana Over ‘Discriminatory’ Vote-By-Mail System
- December 7, 2020: Times of Northwest Indiana
Blind Indiana Voters File Lawsuit Seeking Right to Privately Cast Secret Ballot
- December 7, 2020: Indiana Lawyer
Blind Voters Claim Indiana Absentee Voting System Is Discriminatory
- December 6, 2020: Tribune-Star
Terre Haute Woman Discusses Her Role in Voting Lawsuit
- December 5, 2020: Associated Press
Blind Voters Claim Discrimination by Indiana Officials
- December 4, 2020: Statehouse File
Blind Hoosiers Sue Indiana Election Leaders over Absentee Voting Limitations
- December 3, 2020: Courthouse News Service
- December 3, 2020: WTHR
Hoosier Voters Who Are Blind Sue Indiana Election Commission and Secretary of State
- December 3, 2020: Tribune-Star
Blind, Low-Vision Hoosiers Sue Indiana over Voting