[Nfbc-info] information from the voting call

Darian Smith dsmithnfb at gmail.com
Wed Oct 24 18:51:01 UTC 2012

Hi all,
 Credit Cindy Bennett for the notes from last nights call.  Also, and
most importantly, thanks to Lou Ann Blake from  the National Center
for voting information and Nijat  Worley from the  National Center for
the Newsline information related to this election!
 Please enjoy  the notes and atatched documents. Utilize the
information because information is an empowering thing!

Access the NFB’s information about accessible voting and materials for
running voting drives go to

Hava was signed into law in 2002. It was a result from the close 2000
election and the confusing ballots.

HAVA insures that everyone can vote independently and privately. HAVA
covers federal elections only. It states that all polling places must
have an accessible voting machine. States that conduct vote by mail
does technically fall under HAVA guidelines, but some do not believe
it does.

HAVA does not cover state elections.

HAVA also does not cover absentee voting.

A new requirement in some states is the requirement of voters to bring
an ID. This brings up issues because some people don’t bother getting
an ID if they don’t drive, and some do not have transportation to get
one. It is a measure to help prevent voter fraud.

Most election law is state law, not federal law.

Typically, you must be a citizen and at least 18 years old by Election
Day to register to vote.

You can register to vote in many ways. Typically public service
offices, libraries, the board of elections, etc. have registration
forms. Many states have accessible online forms.

Go to
There is a national mail voter registration form that can be used if a
state does not have an accessible form. You just print and sign it and
send it to your state board of elections.

Many voter registration periods end 21 days before the actual election.

Rights as a blind voter:

For federal elections you have the right to vote privately and
independently on an accessible machine.

HAVA covers early voting as long as it is for a federal election. So
if you vote early, your polling place should have a machine.

If there is no machine available or if the poll workers don’t know how
to set it up or work it, you have the right to file a complaint with
your state board of elections.

If poll workers are having problems with the machine, it is suggested
that you continue to insist that you want to use the machine and stay.
But if they take some time and fix it, then they know how to use it
and it will be easier in the future.

You have the right to take whoever you want with you to assist you to
vote if you wish. This can be helpful for state elections that do not
have the accessible ballot requirement. If you do not bring anyone,
you can ask a poll worker to assist you. They are not to comment on
any voting decision you make at any time.

File claims about inaccessible machines or the lack thereof. You can
and should also file complaints about any poll worker who attempts to
influence your decision. Your state protection and advocacy committee.
They can assist in filing a complaint and there is no charge. They get
federal money to help make sure voting runs smoothly. P&A contact info
for each state is available on your local channel of Newsline.

A typical voting machine has a touch screen and there is an audio
component once headphones are plugged in and you use a keypad to make
your entries. There is no time limit.

Some states use a vote by phone system but it has to be done at the
polling place.
Some states have turned to an online ballot marking system. This is
typically used for military and overseas citizens, but the NFB and
others are advocating the allowance of this method to be extended to
people who need an accessible ballot.

There are guidelines for the design of accessible voting machines for
things like the quality of the audio, the presence of buttons, etc.
there are no federal government regulations that are enforced. Most
states have regulations though.

If your state is looking into transitioning to a vote by mail system,
advocate that they do not switch or that they include a more
accessible option.
 Get the NFB affiliate involved.

Ways to educate poll workers and blind voters

You can organize voting drives
Volunteer to train poll workers
Sign up to be a poll worker
Ask someone from the board of elections to bring an accessible machine
to a chapter meeting or NFB event

The NFB is hosting a blind voter hotline on Election Day. It will be
monitored from 7:00 A.M. Eastern Time to 7:00 P.M. Pacific Time.
Call if poll workers are having trouble setting up the machine, or you
are having trouble voting.

The league of women voter’s website has nonpartisoned candidate
information and registration.

Newsline presentation

There is now an election news section in the main menu on the phone.
On the iPhone app, go to publication options, choose all publications,
and election news will be on the list.

This feature allows you to read information about candidates from their website.
It is then divided into sections to read about positions on various
categories such as foreign policy, taxes, etc.

You can search for political news. The search function will search the
50 top newspapers in the country about individual candidates. You can
also use the global search option in the main menu.

P&A contact info for each state, and information about rights for
blind voters is available on your state channel of Newsline.
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