Tuesday, July 12, 2005

HAVA and People with Disabilities

New on Westlaw: Christina J. Weis, Note, Why the Help America Vote Act Fails to Help Disabled Americans Vote, 8 N.Y.U. J. Legis. & Pub. Pol'y 421 (2004-2005). From the introduction:

[T]he HAVA fails to sufficiently ensure that each state will take the full measures necessary to realize the goals the HAVA set out to accomplish. Although past federal legislation sought to remedy the same problems addressed in the HAVA, there has been little progress toward remedying the problem. Consequently, the broad provisions and undefined terms of the HAVA do not go far enough to require delinquent states to adopt specific, stringent accessibility standards or broad definitions of disability designed to provide access for the largest percentage of voters with disabilities. While the HAVA requires that states adopt certain non-specific standards for federal elections in order to receive federal monetary assistance, these standards are vague and do not provide guidance to the states about the extent of the necessary reforms. Given that the past federal statutes bearing on the voting rights of the disabled have failed to make a significant impact on access, the lack of minimum standards coupled with the vague definition of "disability" provided in the HAVA will ultimately fail to remedy the problem they are intended to address.


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