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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

Disability Voting Rights

Achieving Accessibility for Election Websites and Sample Ballots: A Toolkit for Disability Advocates

Is your local election office’s website accessible to voters with disabilities? Election office websites are hubs of information for voters, providing pertinent information throughout the election process, such as what’s on your ballot and where your polling place is located. For voters with disabilities, accessing this information is especially critical as they look for information on accessible voting options or how to advocate for removal of access barriers that they experience at a polling place. Unfortunately, even though these websites are mandated by law to be accessible to people with disabilities, they often have significant access barriers that impact people with a range of disabilities.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent Living“Achieving Accessibility for Election Websites and Sample Ballots: A Toolkit for Disability Advocates” is a toolkit to help local advocates not only understand the access barriers on election websites and sample ballots, but also help them form a strategy and approach local election officials to remove these barriers and make voter information accessible to voters with disabilities. The toolkit provides information and resources that help both advocates and election officials understand the user experience from the perspective of users with a range of disabilities, including vision, mobility, and cognitive disabilities, and strategies to help local advocates engage election officials in efficient and effective discussion. Advocates can use this guide to begin building a relationship with election officials not only to address website access barriers, but to address other access barriers in the voting process to make the fundamental right to vote accessible to all American citizens.

“Achieving Accessibility for Election Websites and Sample Ballots: A Toolkit for Disability Advocates” is available in PDF, Word, and plain text.

Your Election Day Voting Resources

It’s Election Day and all around the country, voters like you are making a difference.  Voting is a way for you to make your voice heard on issues that matter to you – issues like healthcare, education, and more.

Voting can be tricky when you have a disability.  That’s why we put together this list of resources so that you can exercise your right to vote today and cast your ballot privately and independently.

Getting to the polls:

  • Uber and Lyft are providing free or discounted rides to the polls, along with several bike companies, scooter companies, and public transportation systems.
  • Carpool Vote is a service that matches drivers with voters in need of a ride. You can request an adapted van with a lift through this service, mark that you will be traveling with a service animal, and/or request any other accommodations (such as help folding equipment).

At your polling place:

After voting:

Midterms 2018: Three Steps to Get Out The Vote

October is drawing to a close, which means that it is almost time for the 2018 Midterm Elections! By now, many of us have already voted early or absentee, but if you haven’t (and even if you have), the NCIL Voting Rights Subcommittee has some tips on how to get out the vote yourself and to encourage others to vote.  [Read more…]

Directory of Protection and Advocacy Voter Assistance Hotlines 2018

Do you have questions about voting, or have you experienced a challenge or barrier in casting your ballot? Your state’s Protection and Advocacy (P&A) agency runs a hotline to assist voters with disabilities in navigating these challenges. Please see the below directory to find your state’s voter assistance hotline.  [Read more…]

Get Out the Vote with NCIL

It’s less than one month until the 2018 Midterms. How do you plan to get out the vote?

A circular button that says "VOTE" and has red and blue stripes with white starsAcross the country, advocates like you are writing and implementing GOTV strategies, contacting friends and family to encourage them to show up at the polls on November 6th. You’re using tools and strategies created by your fellow NCIL advocates, such as NCIL’s 2018 GOTV Guide.

We need your help to build the disability voting bloc. Donate to NCIL’s Voting Rights Fund now, so that more people with disabilities can cast their vote on November 6th.

Prepare for the Midterms with Upcoming Webinars

There’s only about a month left until the Midterms, and organizations around the country are gearing up to mobilize their communities to show up at the polls on voting day. Are you ready to Get Out the Vote? Tune in to the following webinars to learn more about voter mobilization and voters with disabilities!

VOTE Emblem features the universal sybol of accessibility holding a paper with Choice check marked and Option uncheckedOn Thursday, October 11th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, Nonprofit Vote will host the final webinar of their Midterms series on strategies and messaging on GOTV for nonprofits. Attend this webinar to learn how your nonprofit can effectively engage in nonprofit Get Out the Vote tactics to mobilize your community. Sign up for this webinar over at Nonprofit Vote.

On Tuesday, October 16th at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, the Great Lakes ADA Center will be hosting “The Right to Vote: Access for People with Disabilities“. During this webinar, Michelle Bishop of the National Disability Rights Network will discuss the status of accessibility of the voting process for people with disabilities. Attendees do have the option of earning 1.5 credit hours of Continuing Education Recognition.

On Thursday, October 18th at 1:00 p.m. Eastern, the American Association of People with Disabilities’ REV UP Campaign will host “Breaking Barriers to Voting”. This webinar, which is produced in collaboration with DOnetwork, will discuss navigating polling place barriers for people with disabilities and give attendees an opportunity to ask questions and get answers on their accessibility concerns.

Action Alert: Create Your Organization’s Non-Partisan GOTV Plan Today!

NCIL is proud to announce the 2018 GOTV (Get Out the Vote) Guide is now available! This newly updated guide now includes information to help organizations and individuals plan and implement a GOTV strategy through phone banking, text banking, and social media. The guide includes information on messaging, best practices, and toolkits available to help you encourage your consumers, members, friends, and family to vote.

A circular button that says "VOTE" and has red and blue stripes with white starsThe 2018 midterm elections have already shown to be critical, with many underdog candidates winning their primaries in surprising upsets. GOTV efforts are a way for people with disabilities to make a difference in local, state, and national elections, often from their homes.

To view the GOTV Guide and other useful election-related materials, go to www.ncil.org/votingrights. If you have any questions about this guide, please email NCIL Disability Vote Organizer Sarah Blahovec at sarah@ncil.org.

New Report on Representation of Young People Examines Disability Representation

On September 25th, Generation Progress, a section of the Center for American Progress, published “A Generation without Representation: How Young People are Severely Underrepresented Among Legislators.” This report examines the representation gap between the 62 million American Millennials who were of voting age during the 2016 election and older generations, and found that although young people are 34% of the electorate, they make up only 6% of legislators.   [Read more…]

Happy National Voter Registration Day!

Happy National Voter Registration Day! Have you registered to vote, or checked to make sure that your voter registration is current and active?

A circular button that says "VOTE" and has red and blue stripes with white starsIf you’re a person with a disability, it may be more difficult to check your voter registration than it is for non-disabled voters. Reports have shown that most states’ online voter registration systems are inaccessible.

Around the country, advocates like you are educating their election officials about the importance of making all parts of the voting process, including registration, accessible to voters with disabilities. But we still have so much work to do, and we need YOUR help to accomplish it. Register to vote today, and then donate to NCIL’s Voting Rights Fund to ensure we can continue this important work through the midterm elections and beyond.

Action Alert: Prepare for 2018 Midterms by Attending AAPD / DOnetwork Webinars

Are you ready to engage in voting rights advocacy for the disability community? The American Association of People with Disabilities’ REV UP (Register, Educate, Vote! Use Your Power) Campaign, in partnership with Disability Organizing Network, is hosting a series of free webinars on election accessibility this fall.

On September 21 at 2:00 p.m. Eastern, AAPD and DOnetwork will be hosting Access Barriers to Voter Education Materials. “The webinar will explore how political campaigns, hosts of candidate forums, and election officials can make their materials and information more accessible to people with disabilities. Webinar presenters include the National Council on Independent Living and the Center for Disability Empowerment.” You can register for this webinar at the DOnetwork website.

Stay tuned as other webinars and events are posted, including the next webinar in the series, which will be held in mid-October.