LOS ANGELES – Eleven disabled voters accused California's secretary of state and four counties Monday of violating federal and state laws by failing to provide adequate touchscreen services for them.
The federal lawsuit demands that disabled voters have full access to voting services in the November election, saying they needed help casting ballots in the March 2 primary. They also complained that touchscreen machines they used did not produce a paper confirmation of their vote, unlike touchscreen machines used by other voters.
The disabled voters said they were upset they weren't allowed to vote in private and had to rely on relatives or friends.
"We really enjoyed the ability to vote independently and privately for the first time in our lives. Now that's been taken away from us," said Dan Kysor, who is blind and the governmental affairs director for the California Council of the Blind (search), which was among three advocacy groups joining the suit.
Secretary of State Kevin Shelley's (search) office hadn't seen the suit but maintained that it has worked closely with the disabled community.
"Shelley is committed to the goal of implementing fully accessible voting systems in every polling place in California, and has moved the state steadily toward that goal," said Shelley's spokesman, Doug Stone.
The lawsuit names Shelley and Los Angeles, San Francisco, Sacramento and Santa Barbara counties, where the largest disabled population lives, a lawyer for the plaintiffs said.