American Council of the Blind of Indiana v. Indiana Election Commission
In a lawsuit filed December 2020 in federal district court in the Southern District of Indiana, plaintiffs Kristin Fleschner, Rita Kersh, and Michael Lauf, joined by Indiana Disability Rights and the American Council of the Blind of Indiana, assert that the Indiana Election Commission and the Secretary of State are discriminating against voters who are blind or have low vision by not offering the necessary accommodations that these voters need to vote privately and independently when using the absentee vote-by-mail program. The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys from Disability Rights Advocates and Indiana Disability Rights.
The ability to vote privately and independently is a fundamental right and an essential component of democracy in the United States. However, in Indiana, these rights are not guaranteed to all voters. In fact, Hoosiers voters who are blind or have low vision are being forced to choose between giving up their right to vote privately and independently, risk exposing themselves to COVID-19 at the polls or via a traveling board of election supervisors, or not voting at all.
The lawsuit provides concrete examples of successful, accessible absentee voting programs that are currently being used by other states and how Indiana’s existing accessible military and overseas voting options could be expanded to include voters who are blind/low vision.
Rather than monetary damages, plaintiffs seek reform to the systems and practices that discriminate against voters with disabilities in Indiana.