September 27 is National Voter Registration Day . On Tuesday, and in the weeks leading up to the Election, Access Living will be doing its part to empower people with disabilities to vote, and to fight against barriers to participation in the political process.
#CRIPTHEVOTE Logo with four disability symbols and text that reads “Crip the Vote”
Election Day, November 8, is just weeks away from now. On September 27, and on all days, the national disability community continues an all-out push to #CripTheVote and show the power of the disability vote, not just in the presidential race, but also in Senate, Congressional and State Legislative races all across the country!
Every Election cycle, the power of the disability vote builds. The power can be found in the voting booth and on the ballot. In Illinois, Senator Mark Kirk and U.S. Representative Tammy Duckworth, both people with disabilities, will square off for Kirk’s Senate seat.
In terms of a voting bloc, the disability vote is emerging as a voice to be heard. According to a report from the Pew Research Center released on September 22, “Those self-identifying as disabled are somewhat more likely than the general public to report being particularly engaged with this election.” The report found that “71% of Americans with disabilities said it ‘really matters who wins the election,’ compared with 59% of Americans who do not have a disability.”
Though more than 22% of Americans identify as having a disability, social and physical barriers have historically kept many people away from the voting process.
Yet, it’s critical that participate in the November Election and that people with disabilities work as a community to address those barriers and give voice to issues that matter to the community. Access Living can help with that. Several Access Living staff are trained as voting registrars. Leading up to the Election, if you need to register, or if you have questions, stop by or call the Access Living office. Someone will be available to assist you.
Also, for information about the elections and resources pertaining to the #CripTheVote effort, visit Disability Thinking's non-partisan voter guide. The online guide is at this link: http://disabilitythinking.com/election-2016-cripthevote/
September 27 is a perfect time to do that. On National Voter Registration Day, Tuesday, September 27, Access Living is hosting a registration event. From noon to 6 pm in the Access Living lobby at 115 West Chicago Ave, registrars will be available and ready.
Also on September 27, Access Living will screen the films SELMA (12 p.m.) and SUFFRAGETTE (2:30 p.m.). “It’s important to remember that as we celebrate the power of the disability vote, we acknowledge the prior struggles for voting rights fought for by the women’s rights and Black civil rights movements,” said Adam Ballard, Access Living’s Manager of Community Organizing.
Going forward, if you have questions about the Election, different candidates, or your voter rights, please contact Access Living.
Remember, in the words of Justin Dart Jr., to "vote as if your life depends on it, because it does!"