Focus On ACBI – January-March 2023

Focus On ACBI
A Publication of the American Council of the Blind of Indiana
January-March 2023
President: Rita Kersh
(812) 278-3038
Subscribe to the ACBI listserv ( by going to and click on the ACB-Indiana link.
ACBI Website:
Focus is published four times a year: March, June, September, and December.  It is available via e-Mail, in large print, on cassette and PC disk, with special translated file for Braille output.  Article submissions should be sent to the editor by: March 1, June 1, September 1, or November 15.
Mary Stores edits this newsletter and can be contacted at or 812-272-1876.
Edward Stahl narrates the Focus for cassette output.  Don Koors is responsible for the printing and mailing of hard copies, as well as e-mail distribution and cassette duplication and distribution.
Ways to contribute to the American Council of the Blind of Indiana:
Those much-needed contributions, which are tax-deductible, can be sent to ACBI, Attn: Cindy Brooking, 676 VFW Road, Mitchell, Indiana 47446 or through our website noted above.
Vehicle donations: 1-800-929-8659.  You can donate cars, trucks, vans, and boats.  Live operators are on hand 7 days a week and it includes free pick-up.
Shop Terri Lynn online or call 1-800-323-0775 Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m. CST. A portion of every product sold will benefit ACBI.
Consider including a gift to ACBI in your Last Will and Testament.
Focus On ACBI
Ways to contribute to the American Council of the Blind of Indiana:
From Your President
ACBI 2023 calendar
Dues Are Due!
Phone Numbers
Reading to the Blind
Settlement Agreement Creates Accessible Absentee Voting Options For Indiana Voters With Print Disabilities
Contact Information for the 2023 Board of Directors
Renewal Application
From Your President
By Rita Kersh
Hello ACBI members and friends:
It feels strange to already be in 2023. It’s like the state convention was last week. I guess now that I’m aging my concept of time is going full speed ahead instead of dragging along.
It’s so awesome how much has been going on in these first three months. Can you say “accomplishments”?
I’m so excited to be a part of ACBI’s efforts to make absentee voting accessible for people with print disabilities. With the efforts of our own Barbara Salisbury, Dee Ann Hart and myself, along with two other plaintiffs we got it done. We won the law suit and agreed to the settlement. There’s more that needs to be done to make absentee voting accessible to everyone, but our attorneys (And Dee Ann) are keeping an eye on legislation from our Indiana general assembly. Read more about our success in the article included in this newsletter.
I took on a project to help grow our membership and increase donations. Using a list from the ACB national office, I contacted Hoosiers who are not currently members. I sent out 98 e-mails and mailed 175 letters. That makes 273 people and I would be happy to gain 100 new members out of all those contacts.
We have a new look to our website. Take a little time to peruse it, because there is new information added that we didn’t have before. Thanks to Michael Lauf for all his efforts in keeping the material updated on the site.
Have you paid your ACBI dues yet? Even if you didn’t get your $7 dues in by the March 15 deadline there will still be time to turn them in. Remember, our membership dues (which includes ACB dues) go towards the number of delegate votes we get at the ACB national convention business meetings. For every 25 members we have, we obtain one delegate vote. That’s another reason I’m hoping to grow our membership. Dues can be paid on our website or mailed to our PO box noted at the beginning of this newsletter. Please try to get your dues in ASAP.
We’ve got big plans for 2023 including having Democracy Live demonstrate the accessible electronic voting system during our Information Station calls, having our members and friends attend the ACB national conference and convention in Schaumburg, Illinois, our statewide picnic at a fun state park and of course our convention with ACB of Ohio the weekend of November 10-12 in Columbus.
So, get ready to join us in all our fun and informative activities we’ll be involved in this year.
Happy spring to all!
By Dolly Sowder
In December, The South Central Association of the Visually Impaired (SCAVI) had a Pot luck Christmas party. A prize was given to a member wearing     the best Christmas outfit.   We played dirty Santa and ended with singing Christmas Carrols.
In January we had a business meeting and planned out activities for the year.
In February Abby Kuborn an OC/MS a graduate student from I U School of Optometry, spoke about a
study on Autonomous vehicles.
In March we are hoping for someone to speak about vision loss.
ACBI 2023 calendar
By Rita Kersh
Note: Dates might change, but this is the tentative calendar so far.
• January
◦ 28 1st Quarter board meeting
• February
◦ 1 Leg. & Adv. Committee meeting
◦ 13 -Information Station
• March
◦ 1 -deadline for Focus submissions
◦ 1 Leg. & Adv. Committee meeting
◦ 13 -Information Station
• April
◦ 4 Leg. & Adv. Committee meeting
◦ 9 -Information Station
◦ 29 -2nd Quarter board meeting
• May
◦ 3 Leg. & Adv. Committee meeting
◦ 8 -Information Station
• June
◦ 1 -deadline for Focus submissions
◦ 7 Leg. & Adv. committee meeting
◦ 12 -Information Station
• July
◦ 1 to 7 -ACB convention Schaumburg, IL
◦ 10 -Information Station
• August
◦ 2 Leg. & Adv. Committee meeting
◦ 5 3rd quarter board meeting
◦ 14 -Information Station
• September
◦ 1 -deadline for Focus submissions
◦ 6 Leg. & Adv. Committee meeting
◦ 11 -Information station
• October
◦ 4 Leg.& Adv. committee meeting
◦ 9 -Information Station
◦ 28 -4th Quarter board meeting
• November
◦ 1 Leg. & Adv. Committee meeting
◦ 13 -Information Station
◦ 15 -deadline for Focus submissions
• December
◦ 6 Leg. & Adv. Committee meeting
Dues Are Due!
By Rita Kersh
Get the word out to your chapter members and our at-large members plus anyone else who wishes to join or renew their membership in ACBI.
Dues is $7 unless you are a life member, then they are $2. Chapter dues are collected within the chapter.
Dues can be paid through on the join or renew membership link. Or, mail your check to
PO Box 2216
Bedford, IN  47421
The deadline is March 15 for this initial membership drive, so please get your dues in soon.
Phone Numbers
by Deanna Austin
Apple Accessibility Support: 1-877-204-3930
For users of iPads, iPhones, iPods, Apple watches, and Macs. This line is reserved for customers with hearing, vision, motor, or learning impairments. Specialists are available to help adjust your settings, troubleshoot devices, and answer any questions you might have. You will need to know your apple id and the specialist will be able to help you find that if needed.
Boundless Assistive Technology: 1-866-606-8551
For users that have devices or software from this company, often issued by the VA Blind Rehab. There will be a sticker on your device with this phone number on it. Boundless is located in the Pacific Northwest and may have different operating hours, but you can leave a message for them to contact you.
Google Accessibility Support: 1-855-971-9121
For users of Android, Chrome, Google Drive, Talkback, Voice Access, and Text to Speech.
Microsoft Accessibility Support: 1-800-936-5900
Offering customer support to individuals who need help with accessibility features on Windows computers and tablets, Office programs, Xbox, Narrator, Magnifier, and on-screen
Reading to the Blind
by Norbert Krapf
Note from Lynn Powers: The following is a commentary from Norbert Krapf. He is a neighbor of mine and a poet. He did a poetry reading for the Circle City chapter last April. He shared comments over the holiday’s.
It was a group from a local chapter of the Indiana Association of the Blind that a woman member of our downtown condo complex, Lynn, invited me to read my poems to. We met in a small seminar room of the newly expanded Central Library, some 20 of us. I selected for the occasion poems of mine about listening and internal seeing. In close to fifty years I never read to a more attentive and perceptive group. They picked up on all that I read or said and shared their insights. They laughed at the humor they zeroed in on.
When I gave a pause for comments and questions, they shared their insights, asked perceptive questions, were always attentive, helpful, kind to one another. They seemed to hear everything in every poem, enjoyed
one another’s comments.
My wife sold my books, mostly from one publisher who
had gone out business, for $5.00 each, which brought in $80.00, all of which we donated to the local chapter. We were all so happy to be together we hung around to keep talking and sharing. Most of us didn’t want to leave, we enjoyed one another so much.
In fifty years of giving readings, I never had a better audience, never read to a group wiser at seeing what I do as poet.
Norbert Krapf
Indiana Poet Laureate 2008-10
Settlement Agreement Creates Accessible Absentee Voting Options For Indiana Voters With Print Disabilities
Media Contacts:
Indiana Disability Rights: Kristin Dulaney, 317-419-7595,
Disability Rights Advocates: Chris Maccarone, 510-529-3453,
February 1, 2023—Indianapolis, IN—A historic Indiana lawsuit seeking increased ballot accessibility for voters with print disabilities has settled. As a result of the settlement, the state has agreed to acquire a new remote accessible ballot marking tool that will allow these voters to cast their absentee ballots privately and independently. Voters will be able to access and mark their ballots digitally with their own assistive technology thanks to this tool. Once the ballot has been marked, voters will be able to submit it via email. The tool will be available to voters in time for the May 2023 primary election. Read the settlement agreement.
The Plaintiffs filed a federal lawsuit in December 2020 in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana against the Indiana Election Commission and the Indiana Secretary of State. The Indiana Election Division was added to the lawsuit in October 2021. The Court has granted two preliminary injunctions against the State defendants striking down Indiana’s rule that absentee voters who could not independently mark their own ballot may vote absentee by mail only by appointment with a “traveling board” of elections officials. The Court also extended the latest preliminary injunction through the May 2023 primary election while a legislative amendment removing that requirement is sought.
In the meantime, eligible voters who want to exercise the new remote accessible ballot marking tool option should apply for an absentee ballot. The absentee application can be accessed by logging into the Voter Portal and selecting “Voter With Print Disabilities.” Alternatively, voters with a print disability can complete and submit a PDF version of the form. Absentee voting, commonly known as early voting, begins April 4, 2023. Election Day is May 2, 2023. Voters may contact their county clerk’s office to see if their county will hold an election this year.
This news comes as voters prepare to weigh in on local issues such as public safety and economic development. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett is running for his third and final term and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry is seeking a historic fifth term. Boone, Dearborn, Floyd, Hamilton, Porter, and Whitley Counties, among others, will all hold elections this year. Because of the case settlement, voters with print disabilities can now vote absentee in these local elections with complete independence.
“I am thankful that our goal to make accessible absentee ballots a reality has actually been accomplished in Indiana. It’s exciting to know that I can vote in the primary and general election using my own adaptive equipment and do so independently and privately. What a great feeling to know I don’t have to deal with getting assistance from others anymore,” said Rita Kersh, plaintiff and President of the American Council of the Blind of Indiana.
“I am very grateful to God for helping us to come to a settlement. I am very hopeful that the state will keep their part of the deal,” said Wanda Tackett, a plaintiff in the suit. “I hope that this settlement will show people what good can come from advocating for themselves. I look forward to seeing actually accessible elections in the state of Indiana going forward.”
“Print disabled people deserve equity in voting rights. By ensuring an accessible electronic means for voting absentee, this settlement agreement provides many of Indiana’s blind and print disabled voters an accessible means to exercise our voting rights, privately and independently,” said Dee Ann Hart, a member of the Board of Directors of the American Council of the Blind of Indiana and its Advocacy and Awareness Committee Chair.
“This settlement realizes the goals of ensuring that voters with disabilities have equal access to all aspects of Indiana’s voting program, including absentee voting,” said Tom Crishon, IDR’s Legal Director. “By agreeing to provide a remote accessible ballot marking tool, the state is finally removing unnecessary and unlawful barriers to voting.”
“Voting and equality are the bedrocks of our democracy. DRA is pleased that Indiana has agreed to extend its email-based absentee voting system, previously used for overseas and military voters, to voters with print disabilities, and looks forward to the repeal of Indiana’s discriminatory ‘traveling board” law requiring that voters with print disabilities rely on strangers for help marking paper absentee ballots,” said Jelena Kolic, a Senior Staff Attorney with Disability Rights Advocates.
Plaintiffs American Council of the Blind of Indiana, Indiana Protection and Advocacy Services Commission, Kristin Fleschner, Rita Kersh, and Wanda Tackett were represented by Tom Crishon and Sam Adams from Indiana Disability Rights and Jelena Kolic, Rosa Lee Bichell, and Madeleine Reichman from Disability Rights Advocates. They pledge to continue monitoring election accessibility to ensure Indiana’s new system is effective. Click here to learn more about the ways to vote in Indiana.
(Editor’s note: Democracy Live was featured on the March 6 Information Station call. You can find out more about the tool by visiting our Information Station call archives on the ACB Indiana web site. Additionally, you can visit Democracy Live’s web site at .)
Contact Information for the 2023 Board of Directors
President: Rita Kersh, Bedford
Vice-president: Kari Goodman, Shoals
Secretary: David Rosenkoetter, Fort Wayne
Treasurer: Cindy Brooking, Mitchell
Past President: Barbara Salisbury, Bloomington
Deanna Austin, Indianapolis
Deanne Hart, Muncie
Earlene Hughes, West Lafayette,
Gerry Koors, Indianapolis
Cliff Goodman, Shoals
Melissa Wobschall, West Lafayette
Pat Tussing, Indianapolis
Chapter Representatives
Circle City: Don Koors
Heartland Association Mary Stores, Bloomington
SCAVI: Dolly Sowder, Bedford
NOTE: Mention of products and services in this newsletter is for informational purposes only and does not imply endorsement of any such product of service by the American Council of the Blind of Indiana.

Renewal Application
Persons interested in becoming a member or renewing their membership need only to send their check for $7, payable to ACBI, to Cindy Brooking, 676 VFW Road, Mitchell, Indiana 47446, along with the following information:
Name ____________________________________________________________
Address: ____________________________________________________________
City/State/Zip: ____________________________________________________________
Phone Number: _(____)_____________________________________________________
E-Mail Address: ____________________________________________________________
Occupation: ____________________________________________________________Newsletter Format Preference:
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