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

Disability Voting Rights

Elevate: Campaign Training for People with Disabilities

People with disabilities are one fifth of the population. Many of us are great leaders in our communities and our professions due to skills that we’ve developed advocating for ourselves and others: we’re adaptable, resilient, creative, and great at problem solving.

Perhaps you have been thinking about how to take your leadership to a new level. You’ve considered running for local school board, city council, or another local leadership position but you don’t know where to start, and the idea of running a political campaign is intimidating. If you’re ready to elevate your leadership to elected office, this training series is for you!

[Read more…]

Action Alert: Tell Us About Your Voting Experiences

Have you experienced access barriers as a voter with a disability in previous elections? NCIL is working with the Washington Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights and Urban Affairs to learn more about voters with disabilities’ experience with voting, particularly any access barriers they have encountered that have made it difficult or impossible to cast a ballot. These barriers include but are not limited to physically inaccessible polling places, difficult interactions with poll workers, and problems with casting a ballot on voting equipment. In addition, we are also looking to hear from voters who have had difficulty registering to vote or navigating their local election office’s website and finding important voter information.

If you have experienced a challenge or a barrier while voting, please contact Disability Vote Organizer Sarah Blahovec at sarah@ncil.org or 202-207-0334 extension 1103 to share your story. 

NCIL to Launch Campaign Skills Webinar Series

Are you considering running for a local elected office but don’t know where to start? Do you have the drive to run for school board or city council, but you’re intimidated by the prospect of fundraising or concerned about potential access barriers? You’re not alone. Although one in six voters has a disability, there are surprisingly few resources and programs dedicated to teaching people with disabilities how to run for elected office. To that end, with the financial support of the American Association of People with Disabilities and the Paul G. Hearne Emerging Leader Award, NCIL is developing a series of accessible online campaign training workshops to be held in late spring and early summer of 2019. 

This webinar series will train participants on the basics skills they need to run their first political campaign, including operations, field organizing, communications, and fundraising. It will be conducted from a cross-disability perspective, with insights on how to tailor campaign operations to work with your access needs, as well as how to talk about your disability authentically within the scope of your campaign. NCIL has partnered with NuView Consulting, a disability-owned, minority-owned consulting firm which has over 14 years of experience in political campaigns of all sizes. These training workshops will be intentionally led by campaign experts of color who have extensive experience with underrepresented communities. 

The National Council on Independent Living is a 501c3 nonprofit and a non-partisan organization, and workshops are for educational purposes only. NCIL does not provide support or endorsement to any candidates for elected office. 

Registration and additional information will be available shortly. These webinars are offered free of charge to NCIL members. However, we always welcome donations to support NCIL’s work around voting rights and running for office.  You can donate through our donation page.  Check ‘Yes’ under “I would like to donate to direct my money to a specific fund” and select “Voting Rights & Civic Engagement” from the drop down menu. If you would like receive more information about these webinars and other NCIL offerings, become a NCIL member today.

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.