45 Years of Impact Spotlight
Fighting for Equal Access to Voting
DRP has also fought to improve accessibility in voting, under Title II of the ADA.
In 2007, DRP and private co-counsel filed a class action lawsuit, Kerrigan et al. v. City of Philadelphia, et al., on behalf of registered voters with mobility disabilities to challenge inaccessibility of polling locations throughout the City of Philadelphia. In 2009, the court approved a settlement agreement, in which the City agreed to work with the Department of Justice and an independent third party to survey all polling locations to assess accessibility, to consult with DRP when deciding whether to implement recommendations made by the surveyors, to ensure all polling places selected through the November 2012 election will be accessible, and more.
In 2020, in Drenth and the National Federation of the Blind of Pennsylvania v. Boockvar, et al., DRP and private co-counsel brought a federal lawsuit on behalf of the National Federation of the Blind in Pennsylvania and a blind voter, asserting that the Pennsylvania Department of State (“DOS”) violated the ADA because its paper-based mail-in and absentee ballot process was inaccessible to blind voters who cannot use it to vote privately and independently. The court granted a preliminary injunction requiring DOS to make a temporary modification for the June 2020 primary. In August 2020, following expedited discovery and cross-motions for summary judgment, DOS announced that it contracted to implement Democracy Live’s OmniBallot tool beginning in the November 2020 election, which allows voters to receive and mark ballots electronically using screen-reader software.