Great article on some of the amazing advocacy and actions this year by women with disabilities, including local Rev Up activist Colleen Flanagan. If we could get more people voting for the candidates who support health care and disability rights… maybe we wouldn’t need such intense activism…
Read the article at broadly.vice.com.
by Ted Jackson
“There are 59 million Americans with disabilities and nearly 36 million of them are eligible to vote. Along with their families and care providers, this voting bloc makes up one quarter of all voters and touches one half of all voting households. Disability voter activism has been growing and it’s finally getting noticed.”
Read the whole article at www.CampaignsAndElections.com
From The Advocacy Monitor
November 21, 2017
Over the past two years, the media and the country have taken note of the disability community’s massive political interest and power. In 2016, the #CripTheVote and #RevUp campaigns created spaces for the disability community to rally as a voting bloc. More recently, ADAPT made headlines nationwide for their summer protests of repeal bills for the Affordable Care Act. Now that 2017 and its local and state elections are over, all eyes are looking toward 2018 midterms and how the disability community will impact those elections. However, the bigger question is: what still needs to be fixed before 2018 to ensure that people with disabilities have the same access to the vote as non-disabled voters?
Unfortunately, voting access hasn’t grown as the same rate as recognition of voters with disabilities. Recently, the U.S. Government Accountability Office released their survey of polling places during the 2016 election. This survey found that of the polling places they studied, 60 percent of polling places had barriers outside the polling place that could impede a disabled voter’s access to the vote. Inside, 65 percent of the polling places they surveyed had at least one impediment to casting a ballot for people with disabilities. Despite laws like the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) that mandate accessibility for polling places, compliance with these laws and voting access in general still has a long way to go to achieve true accessibility. Sadly, this statistic isn’t surprising, as a study performed at Rutgers University in 2012 found that during the presidential election, over 30 percent of voters with disabilities surveyed encountered at least one difficulty in casting their ballot, while only 8.4 percent of voters without disabilities encountered difficulty. There is still a massive disparity in voting access for people with disabilities.
It is critical for the disability community to take note of these issues and to push for change. One way we can do this is through weighing in on the Voluntary Voting System Guidelines 2.0, a set of guidelines for voting machine manufacturers that prescribe requirements for a machine’s usability, accessibility, and security. In September, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) and the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) met for two days to discuss these guidelines. Soon, these guidelines will be made available for public comment. We need the disability community to weigh in on these guidelines, critically analyze them, and let the EAC and NIST know that accessibility of voting machines is just as important as security.
Another way voters with disabilities can promote voting access is to share their story. The EAC wants to hear from voters with disabilities about their voting experience. If you have experienced barriers at the polls, or even if you have not, share your story with email@example.com. These stories help the EAC to better understand barriers to voting for people with disabilities and how to remove those barriers. Success stories are also helpful because they can help to formulate best practices to ensure access for voters with disabilities.
The Bay State Council of the Blind conducted a survey seeking information on the accessibility of voting in the Presidential election last November. You can review the results of their research here. Let’s hope this survey gets us even closer to 100% compliance for 2018!
- For a presidential election, six voters reported there was no accessible machine at their polling place. It’s likely the number would be higher for local elections. There needs to be more oversight and vigilance to ensure that all cities and towns are complying with HAVA.
- Approximately 42% of respondents took advantage of early voting, making it a popular option. Only 10% voted by absentee ballot. It’s very important for an accessible machine to be at every polling place that is open for early voting.
- One in ten voters with a disability doesn’t know if their polling place has an accessible terminal. Poll workers need to be more proactive in offering it as an option.
- One-third of poll workers would benefit from more training in the use of the terminal.
- One in ten disabled respondents said their ballot was not private. Confidentiality will be enhanced by thoughtful positioning of the terminal, good repair, and well-trained staff.
With the implementation of HAVA, Massachusetts voters with disabilities have far more privacy and independence than they had ten years ago. Unfortunately, inconsistencies remain. Most users liked the AutoMARK terminal, and most of the difficulties identified in the survey could be easily addressed with maintenance and training. More vigilance is needed to ensure a consistently positive experience for all voters.
Thanks to Disability Policy Consortium for the link.
After voting to become a city, Framingham will be electing their first mayor on November 7. What an exciting time to be a voter in Framingham! In addition to mayor, voters will be selecting City Councilors.
The Framingham website has lots of information on candidates and polling locations.
Residents can join the campaigns and attend debates. MetroWest Daily News reported on a recent debate, with a debate on Oct. 28 and a forum on Nov. 2. Watch your local news for more information on these two events!
Visit the Saturday, October 28 League of Women Voters event on Facebook for more info. 1 p.m. at the Memorial Building.
Boston voters will be voting for Mayor and City Councillors in a November 7 election. (Note: voters must be registered by October 18.) The City of Boston website has provided some great information on this event at www.boston.gov/calendar/city-boston-general-municipal-election. Drill down to find the list of candidates, as well as a map to determine which district you are in.
You should also research the candidates. The mayoral candidates, incumbent Marty Walsh and opponent Tito Jackson, have both been interviewed and reported on extensively by most Boston news organizations. Walsh and Jackson debated on October 24 at 7 p.m . It was broadcast by WGBH on both TV and radio (Ch.2/89.7 FM) and hosted by daytime Boston Public Radio hosts Jim Braude and Margery Eagan.
Tito Jackson’s campaign website: titojacksonformayor.com. Visit the Events page for opportunities to see Mr. Jackson in person.
Marty Walsh’s campaign website: martywalsh.org.
We’re just one week away from the 2017 National Voter Registration Day (September 26, 2017)! Hopefully you are planning to host a voter registration event or join a registration event planned by another organization or group in your community.
Please see below for information on how to get involved with National Voter Registration Day. Even if you are not able to host or attend a registration event, please promote this day and encourage everyone to get registered! The folks over at National Voter Registration Day put together a Communications Toolkit with sample email and social media posts to help you activate your digital networks. The Social Media Toolkit has ideas for posting messages on Facebook, Twitter, etc.
Thank you for all that you do to make the disability vote count!
From Zach at AAPD
National Voter Registration Day
Tuesday, September 26, 2017
Call to Action!
Over 2,500 partners across the country — including YOU — are gearing up for the final push toward September 26. This week you should focus on reminding your membership lists about the holiday, continuing your social media push and following up with influencers to remind them that National Voter Registration Day is just two weeks away. Keep up the great work!
Today’s Toolkit Spotlight:
Check out the updated the media alert template on our website, which you should use to announce your event and engage local media. Download the template, customize it with your information and distribute it to your media list next Tuesday, September 19.
After you’ve sent out the media alert next week, follow up with a phone call to key reporters and news desks to make sure they’ve received it and have your event on their planning calendars.
Kudos to our friends at the Bastrop County (TX) Elections Department, who got this local press hit using the press release template last month!
Today’s Call to Action:
National Voter Registration also has a Communication Toolkit to help you promote your event directly and solicit RSVPs from members of the public. Follow up with influencers too, reminding them that the event is just two weeks away, and ensure the date is on their social media calendars.
Have a great week from,
The National Voter Registration Day Team
PS: Our thoughts are with our local partners in states recovering from Hurricanes Irma and Harvey. We know you’re going through a difficult time and are here to support you.
¡DOS SEMANAS PARA EL DÍA NACIONAL DE REGISTRO DE VOTANTES!
Más de 2,500 asociados en todo el país — USTED incluido — se están preparando para el impulso final hacia el 26 de setiembre. Esta semana usted debe centrarse en hacer recordar a sus listas de miembros sobre el día especial, continuar su impulso en los medios sociales y seguir con la gente influyente para recordarles que el Día Nacional de Registro de Votantes será en sólo dos semanas. ¡Siga con el gran trabajo!
Herramientas para hoy:
Dar un vistazo a la plantilla actualizada de alerta mediática en nuestro sitio web, que deberá utilizar para anunciar su evento y participar en los medios de comunicación locales. Descargar la plantilla, personalizarla con su información y distribuirla a su lista de medios el próximo martes 19 de setiembre.
Después de enviar la alerta mediática la próxima semana, hacer un seguimiento telefónico a los reporteros clave y redacciones para estar seguros que la han recibido y que su evento está en sus calendarios de planificación.
¡Felicitaciones a nuestros amigos del Departamento de Elecciones del condado de Bastrop (TX), que consiguieron este éxito de prensa local con la plantilla del comunicado de prensa, el mes pasado!
Llamado a la acción para hoy:
El Registro Nacional de Votantes también tiene Herramientas de Comunicaciones para ayudarle a promocionar su evento directamente y solicitar confirmaciones de asistencia del público. Seguimiento con las personas influyentes también, recordándoles que el evento está a sólo dos semanas, y asegurar que la fecha es en sus calendarios de los medios sociales.
Que tenga una buena semana
El Equipo del Día Nacional de Registro de Votantes
Postdata: Nuestros pensamientos están con nuestros socios locales en los estados que se recuperan de los huracanes Irma y Harvey. Sabemos que están pasando por un momento difícil y estamos aquí para apoyarlos.
¿Quién es REV UP?
Rev Up, Massachusetts es parte de la Campaña Nacional para hacer que el voto de los discapacitados cuente. Somos una asociación de muchas organizaciones de discapacitados de Massachusetts. REV UP MA ofrecerá información y recursos sobre el registro, las cuestiones sobre el voto y el acceso a los lugares de votación. Educaremos a los votantes sobre los temas locales y foros de candidatos, y sobre otros mecanismos para saber más sobre sus opciones.
Nuestro objetivo es ofrecer a la comunidad de discapacitados una mayor voz con mayor participación y mayor poder político.
Para obtener más información sobre REV UP Massachusetts, visite nuestro sitio web en www.revupma.org.
MetroWest Center for Independent Living is bringing NVDRA packets to the libraries of as many ofthe 26 towns in our services area as we can.
Monday I brought the packet (see the NVDRA page) for National Disability Voter Registration Week to the Medway Library. I am well acquainted with the Medway librarians and the library, and the request to post our materials was extremely well received. (We included 10 each of the brochures, the pledge forms and registration forms.) And in fact, one librarian thought she may make more copies and bring them with her to other venues!
Tuesday I stopped by Medfield and Millis. Medfield could not make room on a foyer table quickly enough. The sign for the library’s hours was moved to the side, and the NDVRA announcement sign was displayed prominently. At Millis, the librarian needed to speak with her director, but she also was enthused about our initiative!