Voter Forums / Voter Engagement Fairs for People with Disabilities can serve multiple purposes:
- Register new voters – have Voter Registration Forms on hand, as well as tablet or computer access to help people check their voter status
- Educate voters on their rights
- Educate election officials about voters
- Provide information on Voting
- Address transportation needs
Advancing Community Inclusion and Equality on the South Shore , along with Boston Center for Independent Living and the Disability Law Center recently held a successful Voter Forum. Speakers included Marlene Sallo, Executive Director of the Disability Law Center, Bridget Simmons Murphy, elections specialist at the office of the Massachusetts Secretary of the Commonwealth and Jim Casey, Braintree Town Clerk. Attendees shared voting experiences, questions, challenges and solutions regarding accessibility to voting for people with disabilities.
Jim Casey set up an Automark machine. The Automark machine was primarily designed for voters with visual disabilities, but can be used by anyone. By having the machine at events like this, voters can try it out without the pressure of the actual election day!
While an obvious point, remember that your venue must be fully accessible. Make sure that your event listings explicitly describe the accessibility. If you have advanced signups, you can determine whether you need ASL interpreters or CART reporters, although we suggest that you book at least one ahead of time.
Advertising your event is the biggest challenge – getting the word out to the right people, early and often, is key. Consider social media, local papers, and area disability service providers. Post flyers at libraries, doctors offices and medical centers.
We suggest the following groups / people for participation at your forum. Make sure that all types of disabilities are considered.
- Marlene Sallo (Executive Director at DLC)
- Bridget Simmons Murphy from the office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth firstname.lastname@example.org
- Local Town Clerks and Election Officials
- Local Disability Commissions
- Local League of Women Voters
- Local Independent Living Center
- Local chapters of statewide Disability Groups, and local Disability Groups
- Transportation is a big issue for people with disabilities. Local transportation providers may be able to attend – Senior Centers, Town officials, Regional Transit Authorities
Below are photos from the South Shore Disability Voter Forum. You can see more on facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pg/southshoreaccess/photos/?tab=album&album_id=1884224661871354.