BISBEE — A woman’s motion to have the county reinstate curbside voting for the Nov. 3 General Election was denied by Federal Court Judge Scott H. Rash.
The Arizona Center for Disability Law represented Kathleen Hoffard and filed the motion in August alleging the lack of curbside voting on Election Day in Cochise County discriminates against her in violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act.
ACDL argued, “She requires a reasonable modification of curbside voting, or a substantially equivalent reasonable modification,” since she faces “a heightened risk of illness from COVD–19 due to her immune function limitations,” according to court documents.
The practice of curbside voting was eliminated after the 2016 election. The county moved to vote centers that are ADA accessible and compliant with new election equipment that is not designed to be moved. Since there are no preprinted paper ballots at the vote centers, all in person voters are required to vote on the electronic machines.
Additionally, the state has no mandate for curbside voting.
The judge pointed out there are “alternative means of voting that reduce and, in some cases, nearly eliminate, contact with other people, thereby lowering the risk of exposure to COVID–19. Specifically, Plaintiff can vote by mail and avoid contact with other individuals entirely.”
The county does not have the internet capability or capacity to reliably and consistently produce ballots with Ballot on Demand and, due to the wide variety of different ballot styles, it is impracticable for the county to store paper copies of each ballot at each vote center.
ACDL contends all that is immaterial.
Judge Rash stated, “The Plaintiff has not clearly demonstrated she will suffer irreparable harm simply because she will not be offered the specific means of voting she desires. Plaintiff fails to articulate why the other available methods of voting, including voting by mail, do not constitute substantially equivalent reasonable modifications.”
County Attorney Brian McIntyre said in an interview, “Voting is a right, but you don’t have a right to vote the way you want. There are no grounds to have curbside voting reinstated.”