The following three (3) Resolutions were passed at the annual NFB of Kansas state convention on November 7, 2020, virtually.
WHEREAS, the ability to cast a secret ballot independently and without fear of reprisal is a cornerstone principle of our democracy; and
WHEREAS, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act requires that voters with disabilities be afforded an opportunity to exercise the right to vote that is equivalent to the opportunity afforded to voters without disabilities; and
WHEREAS, the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) currently applies only to federal elections and to voting systems found in the polling place; and
WHEREAS, the use of vote-by-mail and absentee voting to conduct local, state, and federal elections has increased substantially due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, data collected by the United States Elections Assistance Commission (EAC) show that the percentage of ballots cast by mail and absentee voting has steadily increased nationwide from twelve percent in 2004 to twenty-four percent in 2016; and
WHEREAS, while the accessible electronic ballot delivery systems currently available enable blind, low-vision, and deaf-blind voters to mark their ballots privately and independently using computers and access technology, the printed paper ballot that most jurisdictions require the voter to mail in requires the voter to have access to a printer and frequently cannot be verified by the blind voter because optical character recognition (OCR) does not recognize a filled-in bubble; and
WHEREAS, the ballots marked using an electronic ballot delivery system and printed on a home or office printer cannot be inserted into currently available tabulators to be counted, and the votes contained on these ballots must be manually transferred to ballot-stock ballots and then visually inspected for accuracy; and
WHEREAS, because of security concerns, most jurisdictions do not permit the acceptance of ballots that are delivered electronically to be returned electronically or via email; and
WHEREAS, there is currently no federal or state certification process or federal guidelines to guarantee the accessibility, usability, and security of electronic ballot delivery systems as currently exists for in-person voting systems under HAVA: Now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas in Convention assembled this seventh day of November, 2020, that this organization call upon the Kansas State Legislature and Governor Laura Kelly enact appropriate legislation to require that there be at least one accessible ballot-marking system in each polling place for all local and state elections in addition to those already required under HAVA for all federal elections; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the state legislature and Governor Kelly to include vote-by-mail and absentee voting and to require that an accessible electronic ballot-delivery system be available to voters with disabilities for all local, state, and federal elections; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this organization call upon the State legislature and Governor Kelly to develop processes for certification of electronic ballot delivery systems which are accessible, usable and secure for all blind and other print-disabled Kansas voters.
WHEREAS, the NFB Model Blind Parents Rights Act was introduced in the form of House Bill (HB) 2735 by the Kansas House Federal and State Affairs Committee during the 2020 session of the Kansas State Legislature with the assistance of Representatives Ponca-We Victors (D-Wichita), Eileen Horn (D-Lawrence), and Nancy Lusk (D-(Overland Park); and
WHEREAS, the above referenced measure was not acted upon despite the best efforts of the three above named House members; and
WHEREAS, HB-2735 expired at final adjournment of the 2020 state legislative session due to the end of the two year legislative cycle; and
WHEREAS, blind parents in Kansas and across the nation continue to be at risk of losing the care and custody of their children because of the myths and misconceptions about the innate capabilities of blind parents, thus demonstrating the need for clear and unequivocal legislation to guarantee due process rights for blind parents of Kansas: now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of Blind of Kansas in convention assembled this seventh day of November, 2020, that this organization express our sincerest thanks and commendations to Kansas State Representatives Ponka-we Victors, Eileen Horn, and Nancy Lusk for their persistent efforts in advocating for the passage of HB-2735; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that we call upon the Kansas State Legislature to introduce and to enact the essential provisions of the NFB Model Blind Parents Act in language identical or at least closely similar to that of 2020 House Bill 2735.
WHEREAS, the fundamental right of all blind persons to live in the world is a cornerstone principle of the National Federation of the Blind (NFB) and was articulated and memorialized in 1966 by our founder Dr. Jacobus Charles “Chick” tenBroek; and
WHEREAS, the Kansas White Cane Act (KSA §39-1101 et. Seq.) grants the absolute right of way for blind pedestrians using a visible white cane or accompanied by a guide dog; and
WHEREAS, the Kansas Department of Revenue’s Division of Vehicles is charged with the responsibility of educating and qualifying operators of motorized vehicles in order to obtain a Kansas driver’s license; and
WHEREAS, the Kansas driver’s handbook used in preparation of the written driver’s license examination fails to inform Kansas drivers of the legal duties of motorists toward blind pedestrians; and
WHEREAS, in recent times two blind Kansas women residing in Douglas County, Kansas, to wit, Tina Jinkens and Tamara Kearney, were struck down while crossing busy but lighted and unobstructed intersections in Eudora and Lawrence, respectively, , Miss Jinkens on August 22, 2019, and Mrs. Kearney on July 29, 2020; and
WHEREAS, the earlier auto-pedestrian accident resulted in a lengthy period of intensive recovery and rehabilitation and permanent disabilities while the latter one resulted in Mrs. Kearney’s untimely death; and
WHEREAS, the apparent lack of awareness of licensed motor vehicle operators as to the legal duty to yield right of way to blind pedestrians is partially responsible for these and possibly other avoidable catastrophic auto-pedestrian accidents: now, therefore,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National federation of the Blind of Kansas in convention assembled this Seventh day of November, 2020, that we call upon the Kansas State Legislature to amend and expand the Kansas White Cane Act by adding a provision directing the Kansas Department of Revenue and its Division of Motor Vehicles to include the rights of blind pedestrians and the duties of motorists to yield right of way to them in the Kansas driver’s license training curriculum.
Return to 2020 Convention
Posted on: 2:05 PM 11/9/2020
© 2020 by the National Federation of the Blind of Kansas