The Minnesota Alliance for Retired American Educational Fund, along with three of its members, filed a lawsuit to protect voting rights of those who may be self-quarantining without a legal adult.
The lawsuit alleges that those who are quarantining alone — or without a voting-age member of the household — essentially lose their ability to cast a vote, as mail-in absentee ballots require a witness signature.
The Alliance was joined by one other individual plaintiff. Three individual plaintiffs said they have serious health conditions which put them at higher risk for contracting COVID-19 and that they plan to vote by mail.
“I have a constitutional right to vote and have my vote counted,” said Teresa Maples, of Red Wing, a member of the Minnesota Alliance for Retired Americans and a registered voter in Goodhue County, in a statement. “I am 66 and have several serious health conditions… There is no question that I will be unable to vote in person because I am strictly following the social distancing and self-isolation guidelines. Because I live alone and cannot safely obtain a witness signature, my vote may never be counted.”
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that a second wave of infections may occur in the fall and that those who are at risk for catching the coronavirus will most likely need to continue to practice social distancing. The Minnesota Secretary of State is working to ensure that most of all ballots are cast before Election Day, but a slowing of the U.S. Postal Service means there is no guarantee that absentee ballots will be delivered by that time.
“There are more than three million seniors registered to vote in Minnesota. The state is asking them to take unnecessary risks with their health if they want to cast a ballot that will be counted,” said Richard Fiesta, executive director of the national Alliance for Retired Americans, in a statement. “The Alliance for Retired Americans is committed to ensuring that all older Americans nationwide can exercise their right to vote, especially during this unprecedented public health crisis.”
Read the entire lawsuit here.