Photo of Ihaab Syed

Ihaab Syed

  • Hosted by American Civil Liberties Union Voting Rights Project
  • Sponsored by Lincoln Heritage Life Insurance Company, The Ottinger Family Foundation
  • Service location New York, New York
  • Law school University of California, Los Angeles School of Law
  • Issue area Disability Rights, Voting Rights/Electoral Participation
  • Fellowship class year 2019
  • Program Design-Your-Own Fellowship

The Project

Working throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Ihaab employed impact litigation, advocacy, and public education to support the rights of voters with disabilities—including people who were immune-compromised or otherwise at high risk of severe illness—to vote safely, privately, and independently.

Despite comprising one-sixth of the electorate, Americans with disabilities remain underrepresented in our political system and face significant obstacles to receiving information about the electoral process, registering to vote, and casting their ballots. Barriers omnipresent throughout in-person voting locations, absentee balloting processes, and election materials and websites render the ballot box inaccessible or very difficult to access for many people with disabilities. The COVID-19 pandemic exacerbated these problems but was also a critical inflection point to reassess electoral policies and procedures and advocate for improvements.

Fellowship Highlights

Working closely with impacted voters and organizations, Ihaab served on counsel teams helping the ACLU and coalition partners litigate 8 cases to increase ballot access for voters with disabilities and other underrepresented populations who benefit from accommodations. These lawsuits challenged a discriminatory voter purge and S.B. 202 in Georgia, advocated to eliminate discriminatory restrictions on ballot collection in Montana, increased opportunities to vote by absentee ballot in Connecticut and South Carolina, and ensured that ballots lawfully cast by mail in Pennsylvania and drive-thru in Harris County, Texas, were counted. She advocated for a more accessible national mail voter registration option, advised congressional staff in drafting provisions of the Accessible Voting Act, and assisted ACLU affiliates in working alongside and supporting voters with disabilities. Ihaab also co-led the ACLU’s 2020 Election Protection effort and developed Know Your Voting Rights content for the ACLU to use and distribute on a national scale during the 2020 election cycle, including information about how to vote by mail during the pandemic.


Let People with Disabilities Vote

100 Years and Counting: The Fight for Women's Suffrage Continues

Meet Other Fellows Like Ihaab

View All

Photo of Kaitlyn Hartmann

Kaitlyn Hartmann

Host: The Bronx Defenders

Sponsor: KPMG LLP, The Sidley Austin Foundation

Amanda Glass

Host: Arizona Center For Disability Law

Sponsor: Greenberg Traurig, LLP

Jen Samantha Rasay

Host: National Center for Law and Economic Justice

Sponsor: Faber Daeufer & Itrato

Laura Dobbs

Host: Southern Coalition for Social Justice

Sponsor: The Selbin Family