[NFB-NM] ask your New Mexico legislators to support HB98 for accessible voting

Tonia Trapp tltrapp.7.467 at gmail.com
Sat Jan 28 18:51:57 UTC 2017

Greetings fellow Federationists:


The National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico is working to have
legislation passed in New Mexico which would make it possible for voters who
are blind to independently mark the printed absentee ballot. Because of the
good work of Representative Tomás Salazar, House Bill 98 has been
introduced. This bill directs the Secretary of State to establish by rule
procedures to enable blind or visually impaired voters to independently mark
a paper ballot using nonvisual access or low vision access technology,
whether voting in a polling place or by absentee ballot.


The time has come for us to send letters and/or emails to our state
legislators asking them to vote in favor of HB98. Here are some talking
points to help you with your letter:


1.            The printed absentee ballot is not accessible to voters who
are blind. If a blind voter wants to vote using an absentee ballot, he or
she must rely on the help of a person with sight, thus negating the secrecy
of the ballot.


2.            Blind people use nonvisual and low vision access technology on
a regular basis.


3.            The State of Maryland has already developed and implemented a
system that blind voters are using to mark a printed ballot; they can use
the access technology which they already know how to operate to
independently mark the printed absentee ballot. Maryland has already given
its software to the State of New Mexico.


4.            HB98 provides a process which will encourage meaningful
involvement from the blind community, and it will set the State of New
Mexico on a path of leadership and commitment to progress for its blind
citizens. The time has come for the printed absentee ballot to be accessible
to the blind of New Mexico and for the state of New Mexico to have an
accessible online ballot marking tool of its own.


If all of this sounds too complicated but you still want letters to be sent
out in your name, I am offering my help to make this happen. please feel
free to get in touch with me by email or by phone. My email address is
curtischong at earthlink.net, and my home number is 505-508-1978. All I will
need is your name, your mailing address, and your permission to sign your
name on a letter of support.


With your help, we can pass HB98 and make the printed absentee ballot
accessible to blind New Mexicans.


Yours sincerely,


Curtis Chong


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