Release Date: 
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Chris Danielsen
Public Relations Specialist
National Federation of the Blind
(410) 659-9314, extension 2330
(410) 262-1281 (Cell)

National Federation of the Blind Launches “Project VIP” to Help Blind Voters on Election Day

Voting Specialists Will Provide Advice and Assistance to Blind Voters

Baltimore, Maryland (October 21, 2008): The National Federation of the Blind, the nation’s leading advocate for the voting rights of blind people, announced today that it is launching Project VIP (Voting with Independence and Privacy), a toll-free hotline that will be available to blind voters across the United States on Election Day.  The purpose of the hotline is to help blind voters who are experiencing problems voting independently and privately as required by the Help America Vote Act.  The National Federation of the Blind will have voting specialists on call to provide support to blind voters who call from their polling locations and to assist in troubleshooting problems with nonvisual voting technology.  If a blind voter is unable to vote independently and privately, the voting specialists will record details such as the city, state, and polling location.  The information from situations that cannot be resolved during a phone call to the Project VIP hotline will be referred to the proper authorities for follow-up action.

Dr. Marc Maurer, President of the National Federation of the Blind, said: “There is no right that is more fundamental in a democratic nation than the right to vote, and the 2008 presidential election is the first election in which blind Americans are guaranteed the right to cast their vote for president independently and privately.  The National Federation of the Blind is setting up Project VIP to ensure that every blind voter can exercise this historic and invaluable right, for which blind Americans have fought and will continue to protect.”

On November 4, blind voters who experience problems voting independently and privately are urged to call 877-NFB-1940 (877-632-1940) from 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. (EST).  The voting specialists answering this number will assist the blind voter and/or the poll worker in resolving the issue.  Voters are urged to call directly from their polling location to resolve voting issues rather than simply reporting problems after they occur.