Yesterday was the 21st anniversary of the signing of the Americans with Disabilities Act, guaranteeing equal opportunity for people with disabilities in public accommodations, commercial facilities, employment, transportation, state and local government services and telecommunications.
According to the Census Bureau, 36 million Americans have a disability, 12% of the civilian noninstitutionalized population.
Because of the particular challenges people with disabilities face, the American Association of People with Disabilities recognized the need to organize the disability community–and its supporters–to advocate for disability rights at the polls and in the election process. Therefore they launched the Disability Vote Project, a nonpartisan initiative that works to eliminate the barriers to voting and to increase political participation for people with disability interests.
Today, there are Disability Vote Coalitions in 13 states, and almost 70% of the nation’s polling places have accessible voting machines. While this is substantial progress, work must continue to ensure that all ballots and polling locations are accessible to individuals with disabilities.
Everyday, countless nonprofit organizations serve individuals with disabilities, and one of the best ways to guarantee that equal opportunities exist is to make sure that eligible individuals 1) register to vote, and 2) cast their ballot! Many already incorporate voter participation outreach into their ongoing work, and your nonprofit can too–learn more about how you can help get out the disability vote!