Braille Monitor                         August/September 2020

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National Federation of the Blind 2020 Convention Principles of Engagement

From the Editor: Given we would not meet physically but virtually, the National Federation of the Blind Board of Directors and the 2020 National Convention adopted these policies.

These principles of engagement were adopted by the National Federation of the Blind Board of Directors on Thursday, June 25, 2020, for recommendation to the national convention. The convention ratified them on Tuesday, July 14.

Nothing in these rules of engagement is intended to change Article V, Section A of the Federation’s constitution. The convention remains “the supreme authority of the Federation. It is the legislature of the Federation. 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 Federation may make or second motions [and] propose nominations.” These procedures simply implement the method for following the constitution in an electronic convention.

The principles and procedures below are intended to provide clarity and advance notice on how the convention will be managed in 2020. This document will be read at the NFB board meeting on July 15 and then a second time on July 16 after the roll call of states. The intention is for it to be voted on the evening of July 16. Those eligible to vote on this proposal will be any enrolled voter present and voting at the session on July 16 as described below.

A subcommittee of the board of directors comprising those who are not standing for election this year shall deal with questions and issues of credentials for voting. The subcommittee will include Denise Avant, Illinois; Everette Bacon, Utah; Norma Crosby, Texas; Ever Lee Hairston, California; Joe Ruffalo, New Jersey; and Terri Rupp, Nevada. Everette Bacon shall chair the subcommittee.


  1. Every member in good standing who registered for the convention by June 15, 2020, will be offered an opportunity to enroll in the NFB20 voting system. All voters must be enrolled by July 12, 2020, at 12:00 p.m. eastern time.
  2. All individuals who are members, are registered for the convention, and who opt into the voter enrollment by the specified time, will constitute the pool of convention voters.
  3. All voting will be done via phone.
  4. Any matter must receive 51 percent support of the votes cast by the convention voters present and voting in order to be affirmed.
  5. Present and voting will mean the subset of convention voters who actually cast a vote on a given question. Thus, voters who are indifferent to a matter cannot block its consideration by the convention by choosing not to cast a vote.
  6. All votes will be allocated two minutes for vote time.
  7. After two minutes, if the outcome to the question under consideration is unclear, the chair will poll the delegates by voice vote for a definitive outcome.
  8. If voting indicates 75 percent support for or against a question prior to the two-minute period elapsing, the chair may elect to move to the next order of business.
  9. An opportunity to practice voting will be offered in the convention on a question that has no impact on the policy of the organization.

Motions and Nominations from the Floor

  1. Only delegates will be able to make motions, second motions, and nominate candidates from the floor during the convention.
  2. Should a member of a delegation wish to make a motion or nominate a member for election by the convention, their delegate must bring it forward on their behalf.
  3. A member may petition another delegate to support their motion especially if the delegate from their own state will not support the motion.


  1. Resolutions to be presented to the convention must proceed through the Resolutions Committee process as usual.
  2. Resolutions being recommended to the convention by the committee will be posted to the web at by 8:00 p.m. eastern or three hours after the committee meeting (whichever is later) on July 15, 2020.
  3. Affiliate delegations will be encouraged to discuss resolutions during their state caucus on July 17.
  4. Those wishing to speak for or against a resolution on the floor of the convention must submit their interest in doing so by sending an email to [email protected] by 5:30 p.m. eastern on July 17. The email must contain the individual’s full name, state affiliate, number of the resolution they wish to discuss, whether they are for or against the resolution, and a phone number where they can best be reached in case there is an issue with the Zoom platform.
  5. Reminders will be given at each of the general sessions prior to the deadline regarding the above process.
  6. In determining the amount of debate a resolution requires, the chair may use the Zoom polling option to get a sense of the crowd, ask the delegates for their feeling on cutting off debate, or engage some other strategy outside of the voting system to gauge the sense of the convention.

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