A judge in Arizona ruled Monday that voters in nursing homes can vote by video if needed as long as it’s decided on a case by case basis.
Maricopa County Recorder Adrian Fontes sought a court order to allow “special election boards” use video to assist voters in a hospital or long-term care facility who don’t have a trusted caregiver to help, according to the Associated Press.
Secretary of State Katie Hobbs also adopted the policy and introduced guidance for virtual voting assistance, according to the Arizona Republic.
Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and Attorney General Mark Brnovich asked the court to strike down the plans, arguing state law requires special election boards to meet with the voter in person, per the same report. (RELATED: Federal Judge Extends Voter Registration Deadline In Arizona)
Maricopa County Superior Court Judge Randall Warner agreed Monday that while state law requires an in-person meeting, federal law requires voters with disabilities to be accommodated–and by video if necessary.
Despite objections from governor & AG, judge says election officials CAN use videoconferencing to help some voters confined to nursing homes or living with severe disabilities cast their ballots
— Andrew Oxford (@andrewboxford) October 6, 2020
“Federal law does not allow Arizona to impose on a disabled voter the choice between voting and protecting their health,” Warner wrote.
“That does not mean the county recorder is free to use video voting whenever he wants or for any voter who asks,” Warner continued. “(The law) still requires personal contact, and that statutory requirement only yields to federal law when necessary to allow a disabled person to vote.”
Fontes called the ruling “a win for accessibility” in a statement Monday.
“This is a win for accessibility. We will continue to provide this option to the most vulnerable population of Maricopa County voters when necessary, ensuring compliance with all applicable law.”
Hobbs celebrated the ruling in a tweet on Monday.
Nobody should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. Statement on ruling in Special Election Board case. pic.twitter.com/g0axbDHWOM
— Secretary Katie Hobbs (@SecretaryHobbs) October 5, 2020
“Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, I’ve said that nobody should have to choose between their health and their right to vote. Today’s decision upholds that principle, expressly stating that the law does not allow the Governor and Attorney General ‘to impose on a disabled voter the choice between voting and protecting their health.'”