Fla. House OKs Disabled Voter Bill
Mar. 20, 2002
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) _ A bill passed Tuesday by the Florida House would require polling places to have equipment, such as audio systems for the blind, that allows the disabled to vote in secret.
The bill needs Senate approval and Gov. Jeb Bush's signature. A Senate vote was not scheduled; it would need to be addressed before the regular legislative session ends Friday.
The blind currently must tell a poll worker for whom they are voting. Doug Towne, who is blind, and other advocates of the disabled who pushed for the bill have threatened to sue if the state doesn't act.
The measure also requires polling places to meet federal accessibility standards for wheelchairs. Many polling places are in churches, which are exempt from accessibility laws.
The House voted 116-2 for the measure, though some members expressed concerns because it does not allocate state money for the changes. The bill mostly counts on federal money to pay for the upgrade.