Welcome to the NFB of Virginia!

The National Federation of the Blind of Virginia (NFBV) is a nonprofit made up of blind people of all ages, their families and friends. Our members and leaders provide advocacy and support to blind and visually impaired Virginians across the commonwealth. We work together to promote full participation and integration of blind people in all areas of life, and we serve as an advocate for change when equal access and treatment of the blind is denied.

Chapters and divisions across the commonwealth offer community based forums for the blind and visually impaired to interact and work together on issues at the local level. As a state-wide group, the NFBV brings the collective experiences of our members together to identify problems or needs and work for change at the state and national levels.

The NFB of Virginia believes that the real problem of blindness is not the loss of eyesight but the general misunderstanding and lack of information about blindness that exist. We believe that with the proper training, opportunity and positive attitudes, blindness can be reduced to a mere physical nuisance.

Use of Ballot Marking Tool for Print Disabled Voters

Many blind and low vision individuals are reporting that their local voting registrar is not aware that they need to provide us access to the remote ballot marking tool so we can mark our ballot privately and independently. We were clear in our legal actions that the local registrars and the public needed to be made aware of the responsibilities under the consent decree. We stressed that local voting registrars are busy and needed clear guidance. Furthermore, the process was new to the public and the Virginia Board of Elections needed to implement an effective communication campaign. The Virginia Board of Elections committed to communicate clearly to local election officials and the public. Unfortunately, the Virginia Board of Election’s communication campaign for this new process has not been sufficient. However, we can help.

You should reach out to your local registrar by phone and tell them they have responsibilities under the consent decree to enable print disabled voters to vote privately and independently using the Voting Works remote ballot marking tool. You can feel free to share the attached memo which they received amongst other correspondence. Maybe, they missed the memo.

What should have happened and what you can do now?

If you use the Virginia Board of Elections Citizen Portal to request an absentee ballot and marked that you need assistance because you are disabled, blind or unable to read or write, the following should have occurred:

  • Your local registrar would receive and validate you are registered to vote
  • They should have contacted you by phone, email, or US Mail to ask if you wanted to use the Remote Ballot Marking Tool. If your local registrar has not already contacted you, you should call them and feel free to share this material, especially the attached memo.
  • If you said yes to using the remote ballot marking tool when your local voting registrar contacted you, they should have sent you a specialized set of envelopes which provide tactile markings to help you distinguish the outer and inner envelopes. Note: You need to print your ballot that you mark using the Voting Works remote ballot marking tool so you will need access to a working printer or have a means to access a printer. This is remote electronic ballot marking, not online voting. You still need to print and mail or drop off your ballot.
  • If your local registrar has already sent you the full set of print ballot materials but you have not already used the materials to vote, you should certainly contact your registrar and tell them you want to vote using the remote ballot marking tool. Frankly, they should have already contacted you to ask if you want to use the remote ballot marking tool. If you say Yes, your local registrar can void your original paper ballot, send you access to the remote ballot marking tool, and send you the specialized envelopes with the tactile markings.

Local voting registrar offices are busy, but they are required by the consent decree to comply with this process. We need to educate them and help them deliver on their responsibilities. The attached memorandum references some internal processes which are not familiar to us but will be understandable to the local election officials. Your registrar knows these processes and can work within these constraints.

Again, you are encouraged to reach out to your local registrar and share the attached memo that the Virginia Board of Elections sent to the local voting registrars earlier this month.

Coalition of Disability Groups Demand Access to Virginia’s Inaccessible Absentee Voting

July 28, 2020 - Alexandria, VA - On the heels of the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the 35th anniversary of the Virginians
with Disability Act, a coalition of disability organizations and individual voters sued the Commonwealth of Virginia for excluding Virginians with disabilities
from absentee voting in November. The Commonwealth’s current absentee voting discriminates against voters who cannot mark a paper ballot due to print disabilities,
including blindness. Instead of voting absentee like other Virginia citizens, these voters must reveal their choices to another person and hope that person
correctly records their absentee vote or risk COVID-19 infection by travelling to the polls to vote in person. Because some are immunocompromised and at
greater risk from the COVID-19 virus, this is an untenable choice. Read more.

COVID-19 Helpful Resources

We have compiled a list of resources to help you navigate this unexpected period brought on by Covid-19. These are for informational purposes only and are not direct endorsements by the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia. Read more.

Upcoming Events

For a list of upcoming local and recurring activities by our chapters, divisions, and special committees, please visit our Events page.

State Convention 2020

In response to COVID-19, the NFBV state convention will be going virtual this year. Details are still being ironed out. For up-to-date information, please visit State Convention landing page.

2020 State Convention Principles of Engagement

Nothing in these rules of engagement is intended to change Article IV, Section 2 of the National Federation of the Blind of Virginia’s (NFBV) constitution.
The Convention remains “the supreme authority of the NFBV. It is the legislature of the NFBV . As such, it has final authority with respect to all issues
of policy. Delegates and members in attendance may participate in all convention discussions as a matter of right. Any member of the NFBV may make or second
motions [and] propose nominations.” These procedures simply implement the method for following the constitution in an electronic convention. Read more.

>Will You Join Us?

We are a welcoming organization and want to meet you!

Are you a blind student?

Join our student association, apply for scholarships, explore training possibilities, connect with mentors. We think you’ll find the NFB to be a solid support system as you build your future prospects.

Are you a parent of a blind child or blind parent yourself?

Parenting is not easy under the best of circumstances. Blindness will add a unique dimension to your activities, but you need not fear you are alone. Connect with either our parents of blind children or blind parents’ group, and you’ll see just how much a part you are of a positive collective.

Are you a senior?

Connect with other seniors! Learn about the technology, services, and other resources that will make your golden years something to feel great about and not something to dread. Whether you have been blind all your life, or just recently lost your sight, we’ll introduce you to people who get it and want you to lead a lively and productive life.

Joining the NFBV is as simple as contacting your local chapter. Though annual membership dues may vary, the typical amount is $5, and joining your local chapter makes you a member of the national organization.

As a member you will have the opportunity to:

  • Network with persons from a diverse range of professions, backgrounds, and interests.
  • Participate in local chapters and divisions
  • Learn about the techniques used to travel safely, manage a household, and obtain employment
  • Help others experiencing vision loss
  • Advocate for other blind Virginians on state and national issues affecting the blind.