Four disabled voters in Wisconsin are suing the state after the state Supreme Court restricted absentee voting options in advance of this fall's midterm elections.
The suit centers on the state Supreme Court's 4-3 ruling in favor of disallowing absentee ballots to be turned in by someone other than the voter, severely restricting many people's access to the vote, especially disabled voters.
Four such voters are asking a federal court in Madison to allow the disabled to have someone else submit their ballots for them, arguing that preventing the practice is a violation of the U.S. Constitution, the Voting Rights Act, the Civil Rights Act and the Americans With Disabilities Act.
\u201cFour disabled people are asking a federal judge to ensure they can vote this fall after the Wisconsin Supreme Court limited how absentee ballots can be cast.\nhttps://t.co/VfigOCljoL\u201d— The Washington Post (@The Washington Post) 1658780406
The ruling also outlaws absentee ballot drop boxes like those used in the 2020 election, though the lawsuit does not seek to overturn this part of the ruling.
The petitioners in the lawsuit say the ruling will bar them from voting entirely due to their disabilities, because though the ruling did not state as such, Wisconsin Elections Commission Director Meagan Wolfe said ballots cannot be mailed by another person either.
The attorney for the four plaintiffs' said this constitutes an unlawful prohibition of their franchise.
He wrote in the lawsuit's filing:
“Now Plaintiffs are faced with an impossible, and unlawful, choice: Abstain from voting altogether or risk that their ballots will be invalidated, or that their only available method to vote absentee (ballot-return assistance) could subject them to prosecution."
One such plaintiff, Timothy Carey, suffers from Duchenne muscular dystrophy, which has left him without the use of his hands and requires him to use a ventilator and other medical equipment, which makes it impossible for him to turn in his ballot himself.
He has voted by mail for more than 30 years as a result.
Carey angrily criticized the ruling at the time it was issued, accusing its proponents of ignoring the disabled entirely.
“Once again, the government treats adults to their own ends rather than [like] they’re people and they don’t think about the disabled at all, and I don’t think they want to think of us. They haven’t even considered us.”
On Twitter, people were outraged by what appears to many to be Wisconsin's majority right-wing legislature and Supreme Court doing all it can to hobble this fall's vote in the state, which includes high-stakes elections for Governor and U.S. Senator.
\u201cWisconsin residents with disabilities file suit against Republican state laws rendering them, and other disabled residents, completely unable to vote.\n\nRepublicans have been taking rights away from Americans & want to keep people FROM voting at all.\nhttps://t.co/OuWfGvPMCj\u201d— KrisS \ud83d\udd25 Your Vote, Your Voice \ud83d\udd25 (@KrisS \ud83d\udd25 Your Vote, Your Voice \ud83d\udd25) 1658787986
\u201cOn this, the Anniversary of the #ADA, the fight for absentee ballot drop off options and for ballot drop boxes isn\u2019t just a voting rights issue; it\u2019s a disability justice issue. \u00a0https://t.co/tJaSJ27g2k\u201d— Randi Weingarten \u262e\ufe0f\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8 (@Randi Weingarten \u262e\ufe0f\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\udde6\ud83c\uddfa\ud83c\uddf8) 1658870314
\u201cOn this 32nd anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act being signed into law, I'd like to remind you that the @wisgop is trying to make it harder for those with disabilities to vote. #ElectionsHaveConsequences \nhttps://t.co/Itv5Fqcn5F\u201d— Sabor for Wisconsin (@Sabor for Wisconsin) 1658876558
\u201c#Wisconsin GOP is working overtime to take the #righttovote away from us. Now #WI have to litigate for a reasonable interpretation of the law obviously intended to let people with #disabilities vote jfc #CripTheVote #Vote \n\nhttps://t.co/9pVSl0liki\u201d— AnonyMissBadger demands equal rights for all (@AnonyMissBadger demands equal rights for all) 1659016673
\u201c\u2066\u2066@wisgop\u2069 why don\u2019t you want disabled people to vote? https://t.co/kpRc0nEOfr\u201d— Gail aka super G (@Gail aka super G) 1658780544
\u201c@washingtonpost Wisconsin is a great example of how apathy in ONE election can cost you your democracy for a generation.\n\nRepublicans won ONCE and immediately rigged their state elections so a minority always wins the majority of seats, and rigged the court\u201d— The Washington Post (@The Washington Post) 1658780406
\u201cThe GOP continues to dismantle how we turn in our ballots. Which not only is in the way of voting rights, it makes it harder to protect the people with disabilities to vote.\nhttps://t.co/yt9cAdn18e\u201d— Karen\ud83d\udc08\ud83c\udf3b\ud83d\ude0f\ud83e\udd2c\ud83d\ude07\ud83c\udf3b\ud83e\udd2a\ud83d\udc9c (@Karen\ud83d\udc08\ud83c\udf3b\ud83d\ude0f\ud83e\udd2c\ud83d\ude07\ud83c\udf3b\ud83e\udd2a\ud83d\udc9c) 1658783874
\u201cAs usual, what the GOP is trying to do is prevent people from voting. This pretense of reform severely restricts physically disabled, older people and those who may have transportation challenges.\nVoting should be made more accessible not less.\n\nhttps://t.co/zkz4jneAlJ\u201d— Carol Valentine (@Carol Valentine) 1658770481
\u201c@WIGOP made it impossible for me to absentee vote this year. #ThereWasNoFraud #Disenfranchised #Disabled\n#VotingRights \n\nhttps://t.co/UqFGoD9L8i\u201d— MtMom (@MtMom) 1658779473
Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul publicly stated state law allows voters to have their absentee ballots turned in by someone else.