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Hoosiers with print disabilities can choose help voting at home under federal judge's order

Hoosiers with print disabilities can choose a person to help them fill out their vote-by-mail ballot for this fall’s election. That’s after a federal judge’s recent ruling in a lengthy legal battle.

Print disabilities include those who are blind, have low vision or those with a physical disability that limits their manual dexterity. Under current law, Hoosiers with print disabilities can use the assistance of someone they choose to mark their ballot when voting in person – as long as that person isn’t their boss or a member of their union.

But if they want to vote absentee by mail – meaning, at home – they don’t get that option. Instead, the state forces them to use “traveling boards”: officials sent by the county.

A federal judge ruled that’s not a good enough option. Judge Jane Magnus-Stinson said the traveling boards limit availability and privacy and sometimes don’t show up at all.

Instead, people with print disabilities can choose someone to help them fill out their ballot at home and mail it back in for the November election.

Hoosiers who want to use this option can do so online at IndianaVoters.com. Once they've logged into their personal voter portal, there is a button marked "Voter With Print Disabilities."

They can also complete and submit a PDF version of the necessary form, which is available here.

The state insists it’s developing better solutions to help voters with print disabilities cast their ballots in the future.

Blind Hoosiers who brought the lawsuit against the state in 2020 asked the judge to order Indiana to implement a voting system over the internet for those with print disabilities. But Magnus-Stinson rejected that request, saying it would force the state to fundamentally alter its voting procedures.

Magnus-Stinson issued a similar order ahead of the May primary earlier this year.

Contact reporter Brandon at bsmith@ipbs.org or follow him on Twitter at @brandonjsmith5.

Copyright 2022 IPB News. To see more, visit .

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.