Existing, Secure, Accessible Technology Gains Broader Use
Governor Jerry Brown has signed AB 2252, which will allow voters with disabilities to independently and privately vote-by-mail using existing, secure technology. AB 2252 was authored by Assemblymember Phil Ting (D-San Francisco) and supported by Secretary of State Alex Padilla.
“The constitution guarantees every voter the right to a cast a secret ballot free from intimidation,” Secretary of State Padilla said. “AB 2252 will ensure this fundamental right is secured for Californians with a disability. I thank Governor Brown for signing this measure, which responsibly expands the use of technology to protect voting rights.”
“This new law is vital to ensure that the convenience of vote by mail elections is widely shared,” said Ting. “Greater flexibility makes voting by mail easy, but convenience for some cannot undermine the right of all citizens to vote. California has led the way for technology to permeate our daily lives and it’s time to harness this power to ensure that everyone who wants to cast a vote may do so.”
Voters with disabilities have unique challenges accessing the convenience of vote by mail. Voters with visual or physical impairments often rely on others to assist them in reading and marking their ballot. A voter with a disability whose only option is to vote-by-mail, or who wants to access the convenience of early voting, often times give up their right to secrecy.
AB 2252 allows voters with disabilities to access technology that has been limited to military and overseas voters to electronically receive their vote-by-mail ballot. Existing law already allows military and overseas voters to request that their blank vote-by-mail ballot be delivered electronically. The military or overseas voter prints out their ballot, marks it, and then mails it back to their county election official.
Additionally, AB 2252 would allow voters with disabilities to receive their electronic vote-by-mail ballot in a format that can be read and marked using existing assistive technology.