As part of a national campaign to urge people with all disabilities to speak out for themselves through the power of the vote, the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and other advocacy organizations have launched the REV UP campaign. A major part of this effort is National Disability Voter Registration Week, July 11–15, 2016, which was established last year, as part of the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Why? The primary reason, according to AAPD, is that “There are nearly 30 million people with disabilities eligible to vote when registered. This number does not even include ‘the ripple effect’ of family, friends, and service professionals who will vote in-line with disability interests…. REV UP campaigns around the country will make a concerted effort to get more people with disabilities registered to vote, educate voters about issues and candidates, promote turnout of voters with disabilities across the country, engage candidates and the media on disability issues, and protect eligible voters’ right to participate in elections.” A recent article in the Huffington Post also outlines why people should care, providing statistics and challenges people with various disabilities face.
Justin Dart, the actor who spurred the ADA, is the subject of a poster, with the caption “Vote as if your life depends on it. Because it does!”
The DisabilityVisibility #CripTheVote campaign, covered in this blog on June 3 is one of several co-sponsors, an advocacy organization founded and run by people with disabilities to raise awareness and appreciation for “America’s largest minority.” As Alice Walker said, “The most common way people give up their power is by thinking they don’t have any.” #CripTheVote will follow up on Sunday, July 24, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. ET with a Twitter chat, “Disability, Violence and Public Policy.”
In addition to the many links AAPD and other groups provide, Disability Thinking is another worthwhile source, with many links arranged by category.
It is also worthwhile to note that people in the Deaf community are asking why most political ads lack captioning to make them accessible to Deaf and hard-of-hearing voters. Indeed, the campaign is about both accessibility and having candidates for public office address the needs and injustices all to many people with disabilities face.