DRO Files Brief on March 17th's Primary

March 18, 2020 / voting

Late yesterday, DRO filed a friend-of-the-court brief in Ohio’s Supreme Court advocating to protect the safety and rights of people with disabilities during the election process.

DRO strongly believes that the postponement of the Primary Election was the right choice to make until concerns about COVID-19 can be resolved. What this looks like going forward may be either another in-person voting day or an extension of the absentee ballot deadlines, or both. Either way, it is extremely important that people with disabilities are given full and equal access to voting, whether they live in the community or in a facility.

The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) seeks to ensure that people with disabilities are able to participate fully and equally in society, including voting, which is a core value of the disability movement.

Holding the primary election during the COVID-19 outbreak will disproportionately impact people with disabilities because they are at more risk for contracting the virus and experiencing more serious symptoms of the illness, and higher risk of death. People with disabilities are also more likely to be unable to follow the CDC guidelines of handwashing, disinfecting, and limiting contact with people, as they may have physical limitations or rely on others to meet their needs. Especially as this relates to in-person voting, people with disabilities are risking further exposure while also being at higher risk. People should have not to choose between their health and safety and exercising their constitutional right to vote.

While DRO filed a friend-of-the-court brief in regards to the Ohio Democratic Party’s lawsuit, DRO is not formally supporting any party to the lawsuit. DRO’s concerns remain with the rights of people with disabilities to protect themselves and still be able to exercise their right to vote.

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