A Recap of National Disability Voter Registration Week & Where We Go From Here
August 11, 2016 | Zach Baldwin
Full political participation and increasing the political power of all Americans with disabilities is a top priority for AAPD. We work with state and national coalitions on effective, non-partisan campaigns to eliminate barriers to voting, promote the accessibility of voting technology and polling places; 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.
In 2016, AAPD launched the REV UP Campaign in collaboration with several other national and state disability rights organizations, including: the Association of Programs for Rural Independent Living (APRIL), #CripTheVote, California Foundation of Independent Living Centers (CFILC) / the DO Network, the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL), the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN), REV UP Massachusetts, and REV UP Texas.
The REV UP Campaign aims to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power! National Disability Voter Registration Week was organized as a concerted effort to get more people with disabilities registered and educated about this year’s elections as well as to draw attention from the media and candidates for public office.
In order to fully realize the goals of the REV UP Campaign we must establish a voting infrastructure that lasts beyond the November 8th election. As AAPD and our partners at the state and national levels continue to develop the REV UP Campaign we will aim to build cross-disability voting coalitions in every state to impact the outcomes of state and local elections while increasing the collective power of people with disabilities to influence decision-making in states and local municipalities. Galvanizing the disability community around the upcoming presidential election is incredibly important, but we also need to make sure that we vote down-ballot in this election and that we turn out to vote in future non-presidential election cycles.
Below is a recap of National Disability Voter Registration Week, resources for participating in the upcoming election, and ways to get involved with the REV UP Campaign. Thank you for all that you do to make the DISABILITY VOTE count!
Highlights from National Disability Voter Registration Week (July 11-15, 2016)
- 200 people registered for the REV UP Campaign’s May 24th webinar to help organizers prepare to participate in National Disability Voter Registration Week
- The REV UP Campaign created and shared numerous logos, graphics, and animations for public use
- AAPD issued a National Disability Voter Registration Week Press Release (as well as a press release template for organizers at the state and local level)
- The REV UP Campaign issued a list of way to participate in National Disability Voter Registration Week
- National Disability Voter Registration Week Proclamations were issued in 24 cities, 7 counties, and 7 states all across the US (38 total)
- Retired Senators Bob Dole and Tom Harkin issued a joint statement in support of National Disability Voter Registration Week
- The Election Assistance Commission issued a statement of support for National Disability Voter Registration Week
- Through a partnership with Rock The Vote, the REV UP Campaign is able to register voters online through AAPD’s website
- Voter registration and educations events were held in several states across the country
- Significant social media engagement, especially on Twitter, with #REVUP and #VoteDisability
Onward to November 8th!
We’re less than three months away from the November 8th election. Up until Election Day AAPD and the REV UP Campaign will be focused on voter registration, educating voters on the candidates and issues, ensuring voters are able to access their polling place or another method to cast their ballot, and providing a platform for the disability community to use and amplify their political power.
- REV UP 2016 Election Center
- News Sources
- First Presidential Debate – September 26, 2016
- Vice Presidential Debate – October 4, 2016
- Second Presidential Debate – October 9, 2016
- Third Presidential Debate – October 19, 2016
- Know Your Rights as a Voter
- Find your polling place
- Learn about voting by mail and request an absentee ballot
- Election Day Protection and Support (1-866-OUR-VOTE)
Use your Power!
- Hold a press event or conference with local partners to announce national and local efforts to get new people with disabilities registered to vote, educated on disability issues, and committed to get out the DISABILITY VOTE. If possible, coordinate multiple sites around your state to host press events at the same time. Download a press release template here.
- Organize a rally of voters with disabilities and disability advocates to promote the REV UP message and the power of the DISABILITY VOTE.
- Write letters to the editor or Op-Eds and engage local radio or TV stations on the growing efforts by the disability community to become an influential voice in electoral politics this November and beyond.
- Utilize your mail, email, and social media networks to provide information on voter registration and relevant disability issues in your area while also encouraging people to commit to vote on Election Day. View sample social media posts here.
- Host a workshop or training on state voter registration rules as well as your rights as a person with a disability.
- Collect Data on voters with disabilities in your area – this will help us build a broader movement to show the power of the disability voting bloc.
- Include REV UP and voter registration tables at upcoming events
- Connect with other disability rights and voting rights organizations in your area.
- Make your organization a polling place (Resources: How To Serve As A Polling Site and ADA Polling Place Checklist).
Visit www.aapd.com/REVUP for resources and more ideas on how to get involved with the REV UP Campaign.
Stay in Touch & Create a REV UP Campaign in Your State!
If you are organizing events in your state or if you have developed resources specific to your state please let me know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We actively update our State Resources and Events page and keep a directory of advocates organizing around the country and make connections to other organizers whenever possible. We can also help facilitate introductions to other individuals or organizations that are working in your state.
VOTE as if your life depends on it—Because it DOES!
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Zach Baldwin is the Director of Outreach for the American Association of People with Disabilities.