MADISON, Wis. — Today is Disability Independence Day, a day to commemorate the July 26, 1990 signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act. This year, it’s also a day to uplift a federal lawsuit filed yesterday by four Wisconsin voters with disabilities.
The lawsuit seeks to ensure that voters with disabilities are able to receive the help they need to cast their ballots, after conservative justices on the Wisconsin Supreme Court (SCOWIS) ruled this month that it’s illegal for caretakers – or anyone else – to return ballots for people who’s disability prevents them from doing it themselves. The extremist Supreme Court ruling also deemed ballot drop-boxes illegal, unless used inside a clerk’s office.
“The lawsuit filed yesterday is the right thing to do in order to ensure the ballot box is as accessible as possible for every Wisconsin voter,” said Chris Walloch, executive director of A Better Wisconsin Together. “But, it’s disappointing that this lawsuit is even necessary.”
For voters whose health is at risk and those with mobility challenges, access to ballot drop boxes close to their home or relying on an able-bodied caretaker to assist in returning their ballot could be their safest – and sometimes only – option at election time. Under this month’s SCOWIS ruling, Wisconsin’s most vulnerable voters will bear the brunt of extremist attempts to hold onto power.
“Many Wisconsin voters with disabilities rely on using drop boxes due to ableist barriers that restrict their ability to vote in-person or deliver their ballot on their own,” said Walloch. “Secure drop boxes have always been a common sense way to help people participate in their communities and hold those who govern in our name accountable. It’s not the place of politically-motivated judges to take that away.”
Together, we must ensure that every Wisconsinite can cast a ballot and have their voice heard. We’ve come together to protect freedom to vote before and turn back attempts to undermine elections, and we’ll do it again.
“These partisan antics must come to an end. Ensuring that easily accessible drop boxes are available to Wisconsin should be the baseline, and not up for debate,” said Walloch.
Ahead of the Aug. 9 primary election in Wisconsin, now is a great time to check your voter registration status or locate your clerk’s office. Visit www.myvote.wi.gov for more information.