Press release

Advocacy Groups Take Fight to Supreme Court for Voters with Chronic Illness, Disabilities

October 19, 2020 | Arlington, Virginia

American Diabetes Association®, AARP Foundation, others file brief to defend against Alabama state appeal that would put vulnerable voters at risk during pandemic.

Several leading national advocacy groups, including the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the nation’s leading organization for all people living with diabetes, AARP and AARP Foundation, filed an amicus brief today in the U.S. Supreme Court to help defend the rights of older Alabama voters and those with chronic illnesses, such as diabetes. This follows a historic federal court ruling in Alabama earlier this month prioritizing the health and safety of voters living with chronic conditions. In a move demonstrating disregard for medically vulnerable Alabamians, Alabama Secretary of State John Merrill and the other defendants appealed the ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, prompting the ADA, along with AARP and AARP Foundation, to file this brief with the Supreme Court in response.

The Paralyzed Veterans of America, National Disability Rights Network, Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund, Disability Rights Advocates, and Disability Rights North Carolina joined the brief with the ADA, AARP and AARP Foundation to voice their support for access to curbside voting. The New York law firm Holwell Shuster & Goldberg LLP represented the parties on the brief, pro bono.

“I implore the members of the Supreme Court to take the needs of Alabamians facing the greatest risk in the wake of COVID-19 into account as they consider this case,” said Tracey D. Brown, CEO of the ADA. “Not only would the barriers being considered by Alabama officials force many to choose between voting and their health, but because of the outsized impact of diabetes and other chronic conditions on most Americans, they would also effectively disenfranchise low-income Alabamians and people of color. The ADA will continue to fight for their rights through the election this November and beyond.”

“The right to vote is fundamental to who we are as a nation and voters must have an opportunity to vote safely, especially during a pandemic,” added AARP Foundation Senior Vice President for Litigation William Alvarado Rivera. “Prohibiting local authorities from making it easier for those at higher risk to vote in person is not only illegal, it’s unconscionable. No one should have to choose between risking their health — possibly their life — and casting their vote.”  

For Media Inquiries:  
Daisy Diaz, 703-253-4807

Colby Nelson, 202-706-8416

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About the American Diabetes Association
Every day more than 4,000 people are newly diagnosed with diabetes in America. More than 122 million Americans have diabetes or prediabetes and are striving to manage their lives while living with the disease. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) is the nation’s leading voluntary health organization fighting to bend the curve on the diabetes epidemic and help people living with diabetes thrive. For 80 years the ADA has been driving discovery and research to treat, manage and prevent diabetes, while working relentlessly for a cure. We help people with diabetes thrive by fighting for their rights and developing programs, advocacy and education designed to improve their quality of life. Diabetes has brought us together. What we do next will make us Connected for Life. To learn more or to get involved, visit us at or call 1-800-DIABETES (1-800-342-2383). Join the fight with us on Facebook (American Diabetes Association), Twitter (@AmDiabetesAssn) and Instagram (@AmDiabetesAssn).

About AARP Foundation
AARP Foundation works to end senior poverty by helping vulnerable older adults build economic opportunity and social connectedness. As AARP’s charitable affiliate, we serve AARP members and nonmembers alike. Bolstered by vigorous legal advocacy, we spark bold, innovative solutions that foster resilience, strengthen communities and restore hope. To learn more, visit or follow @AARPFoundation on social media.