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Press Release

Justice Department Finds Alaska Discriminates Against Voters with Disabilities

For Immediate Release
Office of Public Affairs

The Justice Department announced today its findings that Alaska violated Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) by failing to provide an accessible ballot for in-person voting, selecting inaccessible polling places for federal, state and local elections and maintaining an inaccessible elections website. The ADA requires that states’ voting services, programs and activities be accessible to individuals with disabilities.  

“For too long, people with disabilities have been denied the fundamental rights and freedoms that citizens of our democracy possess, including the opportunity to fully participate in the voting process,” said Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division. “The Justice Department is fully committed to enforcing the ADA to make sure that individuals with disabilities have an equal opportunity to vote, including by voting privately and independently like everyone else.”

“Voting is a fundamental right for all American citizens and ensuring they have full access to the election process is a hallmark of our democracy,” said U.S. Attorney S. Lane Tucker for the District of Alaska. “The U.S. Attorney’s Office will continue to collaborate with the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division to work toward accessibility in voting for all Alaskans.”

The department opened its investigation in response to complaints from individuals with disabilities in Alaska alleging accessibility issues. Voters with disabilities reported that they could not vote privately and independently because accessible voting machines were unavailable or did not work, that they encountered inaccessible polling places and that they could not obtain key election information on the state’s election website. Following an investigation, in a public letter of findings issued to Alaska, the department detailed its findings and asked the state to resolve the identified civil rights violations. The findings include the state’s failure to provide functional accessible voting machines, to provide polling places without physical barriers, such as muddy parking lots or steps, that allow voters with disabilities to vote in person and to ensure the accessibility of its website where voters with disabilities can obtain election information, including voter registration forms, candidate statements and voting dates and polling place locations.   

The Alaska investigation is part of the department’s ADA Voting Initiative, which focuses on protecting the voting rights of individuals with disabilities across the country. More information about voting and elections is available on the Justice Department’s website at www.justice.gov/voting. For more information on the Civil Rights Division, please visit www.justice.gov/crt. For more information on the ADA, please call the department’s toll-free ADA Information Line at 1-800-514-0301 (TTY 1-833-610-1264) or visit www.ada.gov. If you believe you have been discriminated against based on disability, please submit a report online at www.civilrights.justice.gov.

Updated June 18, 2024

Topics
Civil Rights
Disability Rights
Voting and Elections
Press Release Number: 24-775