A new lawsuit claims that blind and visually impaired voters are facing discrimination in the 2020 elections.
The lawsuit was filed by a bipartisan mix of advocacy groups and a Raleigh school for the visually impaired.
The News & Observer reports that while North Carolina does have specialized voting machines for people with disabilities, the suit was motivated by an expected increase in voting by mail because of pandemic concerns.
The plaintiffs say that with a paper ballot as the only option for mail-in voting, blind participants will be forced to tell someone who they're voting for, and trust that person to accurately fill out their ballot.
State Elections Director Karen Brinson Bell says those concerns have already been addressed, and that visually-impaired voters can get assistance from a special team of authorized volunteers.
But the plaintiffs insist that the state's voting system still disenfranchises those with disabilities. They say a lack of public transportation means many can't take advantage of specialized machines at polling places, and an increased reliance on touching surfaces heightens the risk of contracting COVID-19.
They also claim that requiring voters to dictate their choices to a third party will decrease turnout rates among citizens with disabilities.