Eason, et al. v. New York State Board of Elections (NYS BOE), et al.
Disability Rights Advocates and the American Civil Liberties Union sued the New York State Board of Elections and Department of Motor Vehicles over online voter registration that is inaccessible to people with disabilities on June 9, 2016. As a result of a settlement reached on February 25, 2019, the BOE and DMV have agreed to ensure fully accessible voter registration by the end of 2019.
The lawsuit was filed on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind, the Center for the Independence of the Disabled, and Eva Eason and Meghan Schoeffling, individual plaintiffs who are blind. Under the settlement agreement, the State Board of Elections and DMV will make their websites accessible to screen-access software within two years. They will also work with an accessibility consultant and put in place practices and procedures to ensure that the websites stay accessible in the long term.
Plaintiffs in this lawsuit had tried repeatedly to register to vote online—a process that should be both easier and more confidential than a trip to the DMV. However, both websites presented barriers to those who use screen reader software—a common type of assistive technology that allows blind users to hear text and navigate websites. Other portions of the DMV and BOE websites were also inaccessible—including important information on polling places, election information, and voting results.
Plaintiff Eva Eason of New York City encountered numerous obstacles when attempting to update her voter information online after getting married. Eason, who is blind, could not access the DMV site at all, and was only able to access the Board of Elections online registration after getting assistance from someone who is sighted, compromising her privacy and independence.
The complaint, Eason et al. v. New York State Board of Elections et al., was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York. Co-counsel in this case is Brown, Goldstein & Levy, LLP.