These resolutions were adopted by the NFB of Montana Treasure State virtual convention held on Saturday, September 19, 2020.
Resolution 2020-01 Regarding Long-term Funding for NfB Newsline in Montana
WHEREAS, NFB Newsline provides blind Americans with critical information not duplicated or matched from other sources, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, The funding for NFB Newsline is less than forty thousand dollars a year; and
WHEREAS, The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) abruptly terminated funding for NFB Newsline in June of 2019, leaving blind and print-disabled Montanans without access to news and information that other Montanans access with ease; and
WHEREAS, The National Federation of the Blind has temporarily funded NFB Newsline in Montana during the pandemic, but this funding is unsustainable and has ceased as of the end of August, 2020; and
WHEREAS, The National Federation of the blind of Montana consistently advocates for the restoration of funding for NFB Newsline, with plans to use state funding through vocational rehabilitation or telecommunications access funding: NOW, THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind in convention assembled this nineteenth day of September, 2020, that this organization call upon the Montana Governor and the legislature to fund NFB Newsline so that all Montanans may have access to news and public information on an equal basis with one another.
Resolution 2020-02 Regarding Accessible Mail-in and Online Voting in Montana
WHEREAS, The ability to cast a secret ballot privately and independently is a cornerstone of our democracy that enables citizens to vote their consciences with confidence; and
WHEREAS, Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) 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 use of mail-in ballots has increased substantially due to the COVID-19 pandemic; and
WHEREAS, Montana’s Governor Steve Bullock has said that “… no Montana voter should have to choose between casting their vote and protecting their health,”; and
WHEREAS, Electronic ballot delivery systems that meet the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.1 AA, provide voters with print disabilities an accessible way to mark a ballot privately and independently using their own access technology; and
WHEREAS, While Montana has had the option to mark a ballot online since 2017, the current electronic ballot delivery system is not accessible and cannot be used by the blind without sighted assistance, since it requires the voter to have access to a printer to print out, sign, and date the ballot and to return it by regular mail; and
WHEREAS, Some states, such as Delaware and West Virginia, have electronic ballot delivery systems that also allow marked ballots to be returned via email: NOW THEREFORE,
BE IT RESOLVED by the National Federation of the Blind of Montana in convention assembled this nineteenth day of September, 2020, that this organization demand that an accessible way to vote by mail or online be available to all Montana citizens with disabilities for all elections; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the state of Montana work together with the National Federation of the Blind of Montana to implement an accessible online ballot delivery system that will enable marked ballots to be returned via email.