3 Reasons More Disabled People Will Vote in 2016

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3 Reasons More Disabled People Will Vote in 2016

If people with disabilities vote in the November election at the same rate as the non-disabled, there will be 3 million more disabled people casting votes. To reach that goal in this critically important election year, the Disability Community has been working diligently for a number of months on GET OUT THE VOTE (GOTV) activities prior to National Voter Registration Day on September 27. In 2012, only 56.8% of people with disabilities voted compared to 62.5% of non-disabled people, which is why disability organizations are committed to up that percentage by registering more disabled voters all across the country. 

The number of eligible voters with disabilities is growing faster than the number of eligible voters without disabilities. A set of projections from two Rutgers professors show that approximately one-sixth of November’s electorate will be comprised of people with disabilities. They total 34.6 million people in all, a 10.8 percent increase since 2008. The number of eligible voters without disabilities, meanwhile, has grown by only 8.5 percent.

Here are 3 reasons more people with disabilities will vote in 2016:

1. REV UP #REVUP

REV UP stands for Register, Educate, Vote and Use your Power. 

It is a GOTV project coordinated by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). REV UP focuses on state-by-state organizing, and currently has 26 state affiliates actively engaged in voter registration efforts. Three other national disability organizations are also participating –Association of Programs in Rural Independent Living (APRIL), National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), and National Disability Rights Network (NDRN). REV UP has been conducting online trainings, and offers voter registration and GOTV tools and resources at http://www.aapd.com/our-focus/voting/. There is a link to register to vote and each state’s registration deadline. 

Bob Kafka of ADAPT founded REV UP in Texas. He knew that the disability community did not have the funds to influence political policy via campaign donations. However disabled people definitely have the numbers and can vote. Voting is a means to establish political influence.

“If we are to be players in creating disability policy, we need a REV UP voting coalition in every state to work on this election, and to be in place for future local, state and national elections,” states Kafka.”

2. Crip The Vote #CripTheVote

Crip the Vote is an online campaign that brings disability issues into the 2016 election spotlight. Founded by Alice Wong, Gregg Beratan and Andrew Pulrang in 2015, Crip The Vote has been holding a host of Twitter chats on a variety of topics including polling place accessibility, disability policy, and mass incarceration. The upcoming September 19 Twitter chat is entitled “Political Participation and First Time Voter,” and is focused on how to support and encourage first-time disabled voters. Both Rock The Vote and AAPD are guest hosts.

3. Feel the Power March @FTPMarch

The Feel the Power March, occurring from September 21-25, is a five-day march from Baltimore, MD to Washington, DC to get out the disability vote in 2016. Disability rights activists and their supporters are taking to the streets (and highways) for the first-ever disability vote march, marching/rolling from Baltimore to DC, staying in tent cities along the way. The march is ending the day before the first Presidential Debate and  marchers will be registering voters along the way.

“We are a voting bloc that could swing this election one way or the other. We have our own issues that must be respected and heard by the officials we elect – or we will not elect them. Like other civil rights groups before us, we will march, we will ride and we will be taken seriously. Through publicity and social media, we will promote this message and get out the Disability Vote,” states Crosby King of Maryland ADAPT.