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

Disability Voting Rights

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.

Protect Our Voting Rights

Did you vote in your last election? If not, you’re not alone.

Over two million people with disabilities didn’t vote in 2016, and this isn’t just an issue of voter apathy. Study after study shows that our voting system is still inaccessible.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingNCIL wants to help YOU vote.

Today marks two months until the mid-term elections. This is your chance to elect representatives on all levels of government that understand the interests and priorities of the disability community. Will you make a donation to NCIL’s Voting Rights Fund today to help ensure that you have an accessible way to vote in November?

Yes! I will chip in $25 to help make our democracy accessible to all.

EMILY’s List Hosts Facebook Live on NCIL’s Campaign Accessibility Guide

Last Tuesday, NCIL Disability Vote Organizer Sarah Blahovec joined Muthoni Wambu Kraal, Vice President of National Outreach and Training at EMILY’s List, to discuss NCIL’s “Including People with Disabilities in Your Political Campaign: A Guide for Campaign Staff.” Discussing why NCIL wrote the guide, Blahovec said “we want to proactively encourage campaigns to become accessible…but we also wanted to give people with disabilities a resource to go campaigns that they want to work for and say ‘here, this can be done.” You can watch the captioned replay of the live stream on Facebook Black lettering with the words "EMILY'S List" underlined by an orange and yellow stripe

You Beat Voter Suppression in Georgia!

Last week, national media focused in on Randolph County, Georgia, where it was discovered that the Board of Elections planned to close seven of nine polling places due to alleged ADA violations. Outrage spread throughout the country as this community, whose voters are primarily people of color, faced the prospect of being forced to travel up to 15 miles without public transportation to a new polling place.

NCIL logo - National Council on Independent LivingAlerted to this news, NCIL members and other Georgia disability advocacy groups jumped into action. You joined with other advocates to tell Randolph County in no uncertain terms that exploiting the ADA to close polling places and disenfranchise voters of color is unacceptable. If a polling place is inaccessible, the legal obligation under the ADA is to make the polling place accessible, not to shut it down.

That’s the magic of NCIL’s grassroots network. We can mobilize advocates like you from targeted areas to address rights violations like those in Randolph County.

You won. Now, NCIL needs your help to continue to protect the right to vote. Here’s how:

Georgia Disability Advocates Respond to Polling Place Closures in Randolph County

This week, several Georgia disability advocates responded to reports that seven of nine polling places would be closed in rural Randolph County, Georgia due to polling places allegedly not being in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Randolph County has a population of nearly 8,000 and the precincts being discussed serve populations of voters that are over 50 percent Black, and these sudden closures have triggered concerns by many groups that the ADA is being misused and that these closures will disenfranchise voters of color. Many voters would reportedly have to walk miles to get to their new polling place, and there is no public transportation system in Randolph County.  [Read more…]

Get Ready to Get Out the Vote! Upcoming Webinars on Voter Engagement

As we get closer to the midterms, several organizations are holding webinars to help organizations and individual advocates become more engaged in the democratic process and participate in Get Out The Vote activities.  [Read more…]

Rooted in Rights Storyteller Carrie Wade Talks Running for Office with a Disability

This week, Rooted in Rights released a video by Storyteller Carrie Wade entitled “Running Out,” which looks at representation in public office and considers the challenges and opportunities of running for office as an LGBTQ woman with a disability. Carrie talked with both Sarah Blahovec, NCIL’s Disability Vote Organizer, former candidate Amy Biviano, and Reggie Greer, who is the Director of Constituent Engagement at the Victory Fund, which trains and supports openly LGBTQ individuals to seek elected office.   [Read more…]

Center for American Progress Releases Report “Increasing Voter Participation in America”

On July 11th, the Center for American (CAP) released a comprehensive report regarding voting participation in America, the conditions that are contributing to low voter turnout, and the tools and initiatives states can use to increase voter participation. This report looks recognizes the barriers and conditions that exist for many populations including the disability community, communities of color, young people, low-income Americans, and formerly incarcerated persons.   [Read more…]