In 1990, Congress enacted the Americans with Disabilities Act to eliminate discrimination against the disabled by any public entity.
This prompted Commonwealth Secretary Brenda Mitchell, in 1992, to direct all county election boards to accept alternative ballots in local elections, too.
Such ballots are provided at request to any voter who is handicapped or over 65 and assigned to a polling place that is inaccessible to the disabled, as most city polling places are.
In one court filing, Chief Deputy City Solicitor Michael F. Eichert reported that only 43 of nearly 1,700 polling places were accessible to the handicapped.
The alternative ballots may be returned by mail or in person.
Unlike their cousin absentee ballots, which must be cast by the Friday before an election, alternative ballots may be cast up to election day, as long as they are received at the central election office before the polls close.
In her 12-page memorandum and order, Shapiro said the NAACP had provided ``no basis for finding'' a violation of federal law.''
``The possibility of fraud does not make the procedures violative of federal law . . . ,'' she added.
A similar suit was thrown out last year by a state judge. NAACP attorney Robert T. Vance couldn't be reached for comment.