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Letters to the Editor: Why universal mail balloting is a disability rights issue

A man in a mask holds and looks closely through a stack of ballots.
An election worker sorts mail-in provisional ballots at the Los Angeles County registrar facility in Pomona on Nov. 4.
(Los Angeles Times)

To the editor: There is yet another reason to require universal mail balloting — it would appear to be required by the Americans With Disabilities Act (“Universal mail ballots are one pandemic measure worth keeping permanently,” editorial, Dec. 14).

The ADA requires private and public entities to make “reasonable modifications” to the built environment and to processes and procedures to allow those with disabilities “the full and equal enjoyment of ... goods, services, facilities, privileges, advantages or accommodations.”

Universal mail balloting allows those with a wide variety of disabilities, who might have difficulty getting to a polling place or who might need more time to complete their ballots, full participation in the electoral process. Any additional requirements, including needing to request a mail ballot, would appear to be a prima-facie violation of the ADA.

Voting by mail is also safe and secure, and it provides a paper trail for audits and recounts.

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Of course, a Republican-controlled Senate would not pass a bill requiring universal mail balloting. Nevertheless, the Biden administration’s Disability Rights Section in the Department of Justice could write standards for universal mail balloting in time for implementation by election day in 2022.

Daniel Fink, Beverly Hills

The writer is an auditory disability rights advocate and chairman of The Quiet Coalition.

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To the editor: If there is a positive takeaway from the last four years, it’s the exposure of a weak link in the integrity of our current voting system. However, The Times Editorial Board’s suggestion of maintaining mail-in ballots doesn’t go far enough.

We need a federal, hyper-secure, state-of-the-art computerized voting system developed as soon as possible. This would eliminate the issues of any grace period or ballot harvesting.

Come on, we’re in the 21st century, and if we can put a man on the moon (or shortly Mars), we ought to be able to find a company capable of achieving what could very well save our republic.

And while we’re at it, let’s eliminate the electoral college.

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Jill Watkins, Laguna Beach

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To the editor: I always thought citizens would care so much about who governs them and how they govern them that they would go to the polls on election day or request an absentee ballot.

I never dreamed the government would mail ballots to every registered voter whether they requested one or not — and whether they had moved to another state, were in prison or had died.

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It seems the editorial board has great faith in mail balloting. I do not.

Robert S. Rodgers, Culver City


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