MIAMI, Fla. – After the disputed 2000 presidential election outcome in Florida, the state bought thousands of high-tech optical scanners (search) and touch-screen voting machines (search ), but disabled voters say they can't cast ballots on their own unless they can get audio-capable touch screens.
A federal judge has ruled for blind and disabled voters, saying they must be able to cast secret ballots without any help. The ruling, only eight months before the presidential election, has Florida officials scrambling.
At least 40 counties in Florida have been ordered to comply early with the Help America Vote Act, (search ) which is supposed to be in full force in 2006. The decision could cost the state tens of millions of dollars on disabled-friendly voting machines.
One city attorney said the state is being unfairly ordered to comply with HAVA two years before the rest of the country, and without any federal funding.
"The lawsuit here is by a small group of plaintiffs who want it done now before the guidelines that were set forth by congress," said Scott Makar, an attorney in Jacksonville, Fla.
Beth Bowden, a plaintiff in the suit, said more than a vote is at stake: "There is some dignity involved when you can go the poll and you can cast your own ballot and not have to wait around for someone to fill it out for you."
Click here to watch a complete report by Fox News' Orlando Salinas