No Vote Machines for Disabled in Fla. County

A federal appeals court Tuesday blocked a judge's order that would have required the county that includes Jacksonville to install dozens of handicapped-accessible voting machines before the November election.

Duval County officials had said they didn't have enough time or money to comply with the federal judge's Sept. 28 order to install the machines at 20 percent of the county's 295 precincts. The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Atlanta stayed that order in a one-line decision.

Blind or manually disabled voters will still be able to use handicapped-accessible touch-screen voting machines set up at the county's main election offices, officials said.

"We're in the red zone of getting ready for this election," said Jacksonville Assistant General Counsel Scott Makar. "The supervisors office has a lot to do right now."

Ari Rothman, an attorney for the American Association of People with Disabilities (search), said his group intends to pursue "alternate remedies" against Duval County in federal court.

The case began when three disabled voters in a 2002 lawsuit alleged the county's optical scan voting machines didn't allow blind or manually disabled people to vote independently.

The appeals court will hear the case in January, Makar said.