Your Voice is Important and Your Vote Matters

Did you know that in 2016, more than 35 million Americans with disabilities were eligible to vote, but only 15 million exercised their right?

Your Voice is Important and Your Vote Matters

A round sticker with the words I Voted on it
Did you know that in 2016, more than 35 million Americans with disabilities were eligible to vote, but only 15 million exercised their right?

Voting is an important right in our democracy that can affect and implement change, and the disability vote matters! With, “1 in 4 people between the ages of 18-64 having a disability, and higher rates for those over 65,” according to the Center for Disease Control (CDC).

“If people with disabilities voted as the same rate as people without disabilities, there would be roughly 2.35 million more voters,” based on a report from RUTGERS School of Management and Labor.

Voting allows you the opportunity to voice your concerns, beliefs and how you want to be represented! It is critical to get involved, become aware of the issues and vote.

There are many accessible voting options for individuals with disabilities, so we encourage Californians with disabilities to make sure your voice is heard. Register to vote, become informed about the issues, encourage your friends and family to register and vote, know your rights as a voter, and vote.

How You Can Get Involved

• Make sure you are registered to vote

Last month we celebrated National Disability Registration Week, July 15th -19th, 2019, however there is still time to register.
Register at: https://vote.gov/

or

Contact your local county elections office for voter registration:
https://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/voting-resources/county-elections-offices/

To check voter status:
https://voterstatus.sos.ca.gov/

For California online voter registration:
https://registertovote.ca.gov/

• Research and get informed about the issues

• Encourage your friends and family to register and vote

• Know your rights as a voter

People with disabilities have not always had the opportunity to vote, being excluded from this core civil right. However, today there are many federal laws protecting people with disabilities and their right to vote. Laws including:

The Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) requires election officials to allow a voter who is blind or has another disability to receive assistance from a person of the voter’s choice (other than the voter's employer, its agent, or an officer/agent of the voter's union). The VRA also prohibits conditioning the right to vote based on a citizen being able to read or write, attain a particular level of education, or pass an interpretation test.

The Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 (VAEHA) requires all polling facilities must be accessible to all individuals with disabilities. When no accessible location is available, voters must be provided an alternate means of voting on Election Day.

The National Voter Registration Act of 1993 (NVRA) requires all offices that provide public assistance or state-funded programs who primarily serve persons with disabilities to provide the opportunity to register to vote in federal elections.

The Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires jurisdictions responsible for conducting federal elections to provide (at the minimum) one accessible voting system at each polling place. The accessible voting system must provide the same opportunity for access and participation, including privacy and independence.

• Vote

All in person voting locations will have an accessible voting booth. In addition, beginning in 2020, every county will allow voters with disabilities to download their ballot from the convenience of their home, use the accessible features on your device, and return it by mail.

Your voice is important and your vote matters!

For more information on voting and self-advocacy publications online