United Spinal Association and Disabled in Action, plaintiffs on behalf of all New Yorkers of voting age with mobility and vision disabilities, won a unanimous panel decision by the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit that found the Board of Elections in New York City discriminated against voters with disabilities by failing to make its poll sites accessible to voters with disabilities on Election Day.
Among other things, the court found that, “By designating inaccessible poll sites and failing to assure their accessibility through temporary equipment, procedures, and policies on election days, BOE denies plaintiffs meaningful access to its voting program.”
The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s order, which had found that the Board of Elections failed to remedy widespread barriers at its poll sites throughout the City on Election Day, including dangerous make-shift ramps, steps leading to poll sites, blocked paths of travel, and locked accessible entrances.
James Weisman, VP and general counsel of plaintiff United Spinal Association, praised the Court of Appeals’ decision, stating, “I am very pleased that the court has recognized how important it is for persons with disabilities to be able to exercise the fundamental right to vote. This decision will finally give New Yorkers with disabilities the opportunity to vote