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Summer 2020

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An Affiliate of the American Council of the Blind

Carrie Chapman, President

200 Parkview Dr.

Waukee, IA 50263



Don Wirth, Co-Editor

921 – 9th St., #208

Ames, IA 50010



Sandy Tigges, Co-Editor

2904 - 34th St.

Des Moines, IA 50310



The ICUB Bulletin is available in large print, via email, and on an NLS-compliant digital audio cartridge. To subscribe to the cartridge edition, please contact the Iowa Department for the Blind Library at 515-281-1323 or 800-362-2587, option 2. Please direct other questions about format and address changes to Co-Editor Don Wirth.

Table of Contents

President’s Message 4

Accessible Absentee Voting Letter sent to Congress by the American Council of the Blind 6

Selecting ICUB as a Beneficiary 10

News from the Library Consumer Advisory Council 11

Donating Your Vehicle to Benefit ICUB 13

Staying Connected Through Facebook 13

Coaching Corner 16

Shopping to Benefit ICUB 17

Meet the Board—Jackie Armstrong 18

Those We Have Lost 20

News You Can Use 24

Across-Iowa At Large Chapter Report 26

Des Moines Chapter Report 26

Calendar of Events 27

ICUB Board Members and Chapter Presidents 32

Editor’s Note: We want to thank our President, Carrie Chapman, for her dedication to ICUB. She spends many hours every week working hard to advance our mission. Her goal is to better the lives of blind Iowans, whether through advocacy, a speaking engagement, or just a friendly phone call. Because of her creativity and caring, she has brought ICUB’s members and friends closer together through conference call meetings on a variety of topics. We feel extremely fortunate to have Carrie as our leader.

President’s Message

Dear Members and Friends,

I hope this Bulletin finds you, your friends and family well. I know this has been a difficult time for all. As an organization, ICUB wanted to do something that might allow people to connect, take a break from everything going on, and maybe even learn a few things along the way. After some thought, we came up with a variety of conference calls you have probably been hearing about and hopefully participating in.

At the end of March, we rolled out our first conference call and have been going strong ever since. Most weeks we have offered two or three calls; some weeks we have managed four. On some calls, we have had over twenty participants. We have had people joining us from all over the state and even some calling in from Kentucky, Missouri, and Nebraska. Topics ranged from Hump-Day Happy Hour, Book Club, cooking ideas, and iPhone Training, to tips on using Alexa and NFB Newsline. The feedback has been tremendously positive! We want to thank our hosts, fellow ICUB members, for making this all possible. This outreach is a great example of how our organization comes together to help one another.

On another issue, please know that ICUB is still actively working on accessible absentee balloting. Thanks to all of you who took the time to write letters to your State senators and representatives. I would encourage you also to call them and share your personal story. Tell them why being able to vote independently in your own home is important to you. Explain to them that accessible absentee voting allows anyone who cannot mark, see, or hold a ballot cast a truly independent and secret vote. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions. Below you will find a letter sent by the American Council of the Blind to all members of Congress in mid-April. By working together at every level, we can make a difference.

Obviously, during this pandemic, we have not had the opportunity to speak to groups in person about ICUB. A few weeks ago, however, I was invited to join a conference call for the Ames Low Vision Support Group. Don Wirth offered me some time at the beginning of the meeting to talk about ICUB and what we have been working on. It was nice to hear so many familiar voices and some new ones that have been joining in on our calls.

Regarding some other items: The graphic designer we have hired has started working on our new logo. When he completes the logo, he will begin working on our website. We are looking forward to sharing more information as his work progresses.

Don’t forget! You can now find conference call schedules, Convention updates, and the latest ICUB Bulletin on NFB Newsline. You can also find information about ICUB on our Facebook page. And as always, feel free to contact me anytime.

I look forward to a time when we are all able to get together again. Have a healthy and safe summer.

Carrie Chapman, President

Accessible Absentee Voting Letter Sent to Congress

by the American Council of the Blind

Editor’s Note: More than seventy-five national, state, and local organizations and affiliates have cosigned this letter which was sent to all members of Congress. Due to space constraints, we cannot list them here. Please contact President Carrie Chapman if you would like a copy of the list.

April 10, 2020

The Honorable Nancy Pelosi, Speaker

United States House of Representatives

1236 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Leader

United States Senate

317 Russell Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

The Honorable Kevin McCarthy, Leader

United States House of Representatives

2468 Rayburn House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

The Honorable Charles Schumer, Leader

United States Senate

322 Hart Senate Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20510

Re: Congress Must Protect the Voting Rights of People with Disabilities

Dear Speaker Pelosi and Leaders McConnell, McCarthy, and Schumer:

The American Council of the Blind and the undersigned organizations actively represent and work to advance civil rights for people with disabilities. We write to express our concern that the CARES Act, H.R. 748, fails to reinforce to states that they must ensure equal access to federal elections for voters with disabilities when administering funds pursuant to this Act. The basis of our great democracy is the fundamental right to privately and independently mark, cast, and verify a ballot. Through passage of the Voting Rights Act, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and the Help America Vote Act, Congress mandated that states must ensure all voters are afforded full and equal access to the ballot box, whether at a polling location or voting remotely. Yet, voters with disabilities are routinely disenfranchised in absentee voting programs that require the voter to cast a paper ballot for federal elections. To complete a paper ballot one is required to, at the least, read standard text, physically write and/or fill in the ballot choices, seal and certify the ballot via a signature on the envelope, and mail the ballot back to the appropriate voting official to be counted. Each of these steps may act as a barrier to voting for voters who are blind and disabled.

There is no nationwide approach to creating accessible absentee ballots and as such, many voters with disabilities are excluded from absentee ballots. Some states have implemented accessible solutions to this problem, such as remote voting through the use of online and remote ballot marking devices. For example, earlier this year Gov. Justice in West Virginia signed into law S.B. 94, a bill to bring the absentee vote by mail system in West Virginia into compliance with Title II of the ADA by offering an accessible electronic absentee voting option for people with disabilities. These changes are the result of the tireless work of advocacy organizations and, in some cases, legal action. These ad hoc decisions by states to protect voting rights create an uneven landscape where voters with disabilities in some states may successfully cast a private, independent absentee ballot, while voters with disabilities in other states cannot, for the same federal election. Readily available solutions already exist that afford people with disabilities full and equal access to absentee or remote voting through the use of online and remote ballot marking devices.

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, and it is once again incumbent on Congress to reinforce the American principle that federal elections must be administered in an equitable manner, enabling voters with disabilities to cast a private, independent ballot. We strongly urge Congress to remedy the current disenfranchisement of voters with disabilities by requiring an accessible, secure online option by which people with disabilities may privately and independently mark, cast, and verify their ballots in any future COVID-19 relief legislation where federal election funding is allocated.


Eric Bridges

Executive Director

American Council of the Blind