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May 2006

PEOPLE WITH DISABILITIES EARN A SEAT AT THE TABLE



NYSILC Press Release - On Thursday December 15, 2005, one day before a court mandated hearing before State Supreme Court Justice Thomas McNamara, the New York State Board of Elections formally appointed Dennis Boyd as the New York State Independent Living Council (NYSILC) representative to the new Citizen Election Modernization Advisory Committee.

"I am happy to be a formally approved member of the Advisory Committee and hope that NYSILC's role will ensure accessible voting machine systems for people with disabilities throughout the state," said Dennis Boyd of NYSILC and the New York Lawyers for the Public Interest (NYLPI).

This appointment came two months after NYSILC filed an Article 78 action with the New York Supreme Court demanding that the New York State Board of Elections comply with Section 1A of the Election Reform and Modernization Act of 2005 under New York State Election Law. This law mandates the inclusion of a NYSILC representative on the Citizenís Election Modernization Advisory Committee.

"It was inevitable that NYSILC would prevail in its lawsuit against the Board of Elections because the New York State Election Law is clearly on NYSILC's side," remarked Martin Coleman, the lead attorney for this lawsuit.

In addition to this matter, New York State has the dubious distinction of being the last state to implement HAVA by the mandatory deadline of January 1, 2006, which is only two weeks away.

"This lawsuit is evidence that the disability community refuses to back down regarding access to our voting rights," stated Susan Cohen, who provided an affidavit in the lawsuit. "This could be just the beginning in terms of litigation."

It is the vision of the New York State Independent Living Council, Inc. (NYSILC) to achieve a world where people with disabilities realize equal rights and opportunities in all aspects of society.