Resource: Hoffard v. Cochise Cnty., No. 4:20-cv-00243 (D. Ariz.)

By: Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project

November 7, 2020

Stanford-MIT Healthy Elections Project

Plaintiff is an individual with severe physical disabilities which limit her ability to stand, walk, etc. and her medication suppresses her immune system (which makes her particularly susceptible to Covid-19). Plaintiff participated in curbside voting in Cochise County prior to the November 2018 mid-term election; however, while attempting to vote in the November 2018 mid-term election, Plaintiff was advised by an employee of the Cochise County Elections Department that curbside voting would not be available because all voting centers in the County comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Plaintiff did enter the voting center and cast a vote in that election. Plaintiff similarly plans to vote in both the August 2020 primary and November 2020 general election, in each case, in Cochise County. Curbside voting remains important to Plaintiff due to her physical disabilities and, Plaintiff argues, is of increased importance in light of the Covid-19 pandemic. The Cochise County Poll Worker's Training Handbook states that curbside voting is allowed when a Voting Center is not ADA-accessible, that all Cochise County voting centers are ADA-accessible and that curbside voting is no longer offered as an additional service. Voters must use the electronic machines, which cannot be moved to the curb due to the sensitivity of the technology/information. Plaintiff alleges these practices violate the ADA, Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act and the Arizona Civil Rights Act. Plaintiff seeks: (1) a declaratory judgment finding that Defendant's practices have and will continue to subject Plaintiff to unalwful discrimination on the basis of her disabilities, (2) an order that Defendant provide curbside voting as a reasonable modification when necessary, (3) order that Defendant provide remedial training to County Election Department staff and poll workers on rights of individuals with a disability under the ADA and curbside voting procedures, and (4) an order that Defendant implement a remedial plan to provide notice to voters that curbside voting is available in the upcoming elections.