Colorado, Runnels, Smith and Upton Counties Maintain Election Websites That Limit or Deny Access to Critical Election Information for People with Vision or Manual Disabilities
The Justice Department announced today its findings that four Texas counties violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by maintaining election websites that discriminate against individuals with vision or manual disabilities.
In public letters issued to Colorado County, Runnels County, Smith County and Upton County, the department detailed its findings following its investigation and asked the counties to work with the Civil Rights Division and the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices for the Eastern, Northern, Southern and Western Districts of Texas to resolve the identified civil rights violations.
“Voting is fundamental to American democracy,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “It is imperative that all eligible voters with disabilities across the country have the information they need to access the ballot and exercise their right to vote in state and federal elections.”
The election websites for these four Texas counties provide important information about how to vote, such as registration requirements, identification requirements and voting information for people with disabilities. The websites also link to other critical information, including details about early voting and voting on election day.
The department found that the websites are not accessible to individuals who are blind or have low vision, or who cannot grasp a mouse, and use screen readers, keyboards or other assistive technology. For example, on all four of the election websites, menus and links do not function properly for people who use a keyboard to navigate, and posted documents are inaccessible to people who use assistive technologies. Because the election websites are inaccessible, the counties deny people with vision and manual disabilities equal access to election programs and online services provided through these websites and fail to ensure effective communication with people with disabilities.
These four investigations are part of the department’s ADA Voting Initiative, which focuses on protecting the voting rights of individuals with disabilities. People with information about these findings are encouraged to contact the department via email at TXWebsites@usdoj.gov, through the Civil Rights Division’s Civil Rights Portal, available at www.civilrights.justice.gov/, or by calling 888-473-2780. To read more about the ADA and how it applies to voting, please visit www.ada.gov/topics/voting/.
Public Affairs Officer/Law Enforcement Coordinator
U.S. Attorney’s Office
Eastern District of Texas