Report on request for Access Ready Inc Nonprofit Board of Directors Action
Title, Authorization to fund legal action in the state of Maryland related to accessible pollbooks.
Issued on 03-30-2021
Honorable members of the Access Ready Inc. Board of Directors,
Under the bylaws Article VII Section 9 as Chair, I am requesting that you vote on the following agenda electronically.
A simple response to the Chair-CEO by email will be registered by the Chair-CEO and then filed with the corporate Secretary.
A notice of this action will then be placed on the Consent Agenda and included in the Board package for the next formal meeting.
Your vote in this format does have the force and effect of an action in a formal board meeting. The Consent Agenda vote is a formality intended to give the Board a second look at actions taken electronically. Please reply to all when responding.
The voting on this agenda will be open until 5 pm on 04-08-2021
A failure to respond will automatically register as an affirmative or yes vote on the agenda.
May it please the Board, the Chair-CEO respectfully requests authorization to fund up to $50,000.00 (fifty thousand dollars) of legal expenses (court and other costs) of a legal action in the state of Maryland related to the state’s request for proposal (RFP) for a new pollbook system.
The RFP called for the pollbook to meet Maryland 508 requirements and then the state rejected the proposal from VOTEC which included accessibility features for the blind, visually impaired, Deaf, hearing impaired and those with dexterity or motor skill disabilities.
The proposal was rejected on technicalities in our legal counsel’s opinion and that of the coalition of Maryland Community Partners which we have drawn together. This partnership consists of:
* Access Ready Inc
* The Image Center for People with Disabilities of Maryland
* The National Association of the Deaf
* The National Council on Independent Living and
* The National Federation of the Blind.
These organizations have pledged their support and may follow that up with funding to lessen the burden on Access Ready, but no commitment to funding has been made.
The funds for this effort will be drawn from funds paid and committed through our ARS-ARI VOTEC contract.
It means reprogramming funds from our other commitments with the approval of VOTEC which has already been given.
This reprogramming of funds will be reflected in the budget to be presented at the annual meeting in June.
Hopefully, the state will choose to negotiate a settlement rather than allow the case to go to court. In either case we would expect to recover our legal costs through settlement or legal determination.
This is a vital stand on accessible voting that must be taken and adjudicated to further the cause of accessible voting.
I have attached a copy of the letter that is being sent to the state on our behalf. Please keep this letter and action in confidence until it becomes a matter of public record.
It is not important to the cause of action, but the community partnership is a model for efforts in the future and is putting Access Ready on a level equal to other national civil, disability, and voting rights organizations.
I urge your approval.
I have copied the Access Ready Strategic industry board members on this request for information purposes only since this is a request to the ARI (nonprofit) Board of Directors.
Elizabeth Campbell Yes
Gust Dean Doulou Vice-Chair, Yes Without Objection
Stephen M. Handschu Yes
DR Martin G. Lewis Yes Without Objection
Matthew Michaelis Yes Without Objection
Paul R. Michaelis PHD Yes
William (Chip) Smith Yes
Mariano Tan Yes Without Objection
Carol Westlake Yes
Gabrielle Ward Yes
Board of Directors Actions completed by 04-08-2021
Certified Corey R. Saur