H. B. 2246
(By Delegates Susman, Hrutkay and Spencer)
[Introduced February 11, 2005; referred to the
Committee on the Judiciary.]
A BILL to amend and reenact §3-1C-2 of the Code of West Virginia,
1931, as amended; and to amend said code by adding thereto
three new sections, designated §3-1C-5, §3-1C-6 and §3-1C-7,
all relating to securing the right of blind and visually
impaired people to vote under the same conditions of privacy
and independence as sighted people through the procurement of
electronic voting technology and systems in accordance with
certification criteria for equivalent access by visual and
nonvisual means; requiring the Secretary of State to ensure
compliance with this voting procedure; and providing for
injunctive relief for violations.
Be it enacted by the Legislature of West Virginia:
That §3-1C-2 of the Code of West Virginia, 1931, as amended,
be amended and reenacted; and that said code be amended by adding
thereto three new sections, designated §3-1C-5, §3-1C-6 and §3-1C-7, all to read as follows:
ARTICLE 1C. ACCESSIBLE VOTING TECHNOLOGY ACT.
The Legislature makes the following findings:
(1) Microchip and digital technologies are increasingly
changing the way Americans vote;
(2) State and political subdivisions are replacing antiquated
voting methods and machines with computer and electronic-based
voting systems, but nonvisual access, whether by speech, Braille or
other appropriate means is often overlooked in certifying and
purchasing the latest voting technology;
(3) Voting technology and systems which allow the voter to
access and select information solely through visual means are a
barrier to access by individuals who are blind or visually
impaired, thereby discouraging them from exercising the right to
vote, the most fundamental right of citizenship in a free and
(4) Software and hardware adaptations have been created so
that voters can interact with voting technology and systems through
both visual and nonvisual means allowing blind and visually
impaired people to cast a secret ballot and independently verify
their vote; and
(5) In promoting full participation in the electoral process,
the goals of the State and its political subdivisions must recognize the incontrovertible
right of all citizens regardless of
blindness or visual impairment to vote; and this right must include
the opportunity for individuals who are blind or visually impaired
to cast and verify their ballots independently.
§3-1C-5. Requirements for accessible voting technology and
(a) Upon the effective date of this section, the Secretary of
State shall require (by certification or otherwise) that the voting
technology and systems used by the State or any political
subdivision provide blind and visually impaired individuals with
access which is equivalent to that provided to individuals who are
not blind or visually impaired, including the ability for the voter
to cast and verify all selections made by both visual and nonvisual
(b) In requiring nonvisual access pursuant to subdivision (a)
of this section, the Secretary of State shall obtain
recommendations from representatives of blind consumer
organizations, experts in accessible software and hardware design,
and any other individual or organization the Secretary of State
determines to be appropriate.
§3-1C-6. Existing technology and systems.
Compliance with the requirements of section five of this
article, in regard to voting technology and systems purchased prior
to the effective date of section five must be achieved at the time of procurement of an upgrade or replacement of the existing
equipment or systems.
§3-1C-7. Action for injunction.
(a) A person injured by a violation of this article may
maintain an action for injunctive relief to enforce the terms of
(b) Any action must be commenced within four years after the
cause of action accrues. For the purposes of this subsection, a
cause of action for a continuing violation accrues at the time of
the latest violation.
NOTE: The purpose of this bill is to secure the right of
blind and visually impaired people to vote under the same
conditions of privacy and independence as sighted people through
the procurement of electronic voting technology and systems in
accordance with certification criteria for equivalent access by
visual and nonvisual means. The Secretary of State is responsible
for implementation of this procedure.
Strike-throughs indicate language that would be stricken from
the present law, and underscoring indicates new language that would
§§3-1C-5, 6 and 7 are new; therefore, strike-throughs and
underscoring have been omitted.