Call Recap – May 15 REV UP National Organizing Call
Preparing for National Disability Voter Registration Week 2018
May 18, 2018
On May 15, the REV UP Campaign hosted a National Organizing Call to prepare for National Disability Voter Registration Week (NDVRW) 2018. NDVRW, this year held July 16-20, 2018, is an annual effort to get people with disabilities registered to vote, educated about this year’s election, and prepared to cast a ballot in their next election. With numerous events and activities happening around the country during this time, we also hope to garner attention from media and candidates running for office.
The REV UP Campaign, launched by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) in 2016, is a nonpartisan initiative that coordinates with national, state, and local disability organizations to increase the political power of the disability community while also engaging candidates and the media on disability issues. The Campaign focuses on voter registration, education, access, and engagement. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!
During the call, we discussed the purpose of NDVRW and the potential power of the disability vote. We outlined REV UP resources available to make participation in NDVRW easier, and heard from three state REV UP Campaigns on how they have worked to get their local disability community more engaged.
Participating in NDVRW – The Basics
Use the 2018 NDVRW Toolkit
The NDVRW Toolkit includes: a guide on how to organize voter registration events, ideas on other ways to participate in NDVRW, sample social media posts and graphics, and other resources. Use #REVUP and #DisabilityVote18 when you post.
Identify Partners in your Community
You don’t have to go it alone with your voter registration efforts. The REV UP Campaign encourages area disability organizations to work collaboratively on voter engagement. Similarly, many national, state, and local civic organizations that already work on voter registration may be interested in partnering with disability organizations. Check out the 2018 NDVRW Toolkit for more ideas.
Take Advantage of Sample Social Media Posts and Graphics
Whether you’re organizing an in-person event or not, you can help raise awareness about NDVRW and the importance of people with disabilities being politically active. Use our free sample social media posts and graphics to support your digital organizing.
Review Ideas on Different Kinds of Events
Sometimes a voter registration event by itself is not enough to get the community interested. Consider pairing your voter registration drive with another educational or interactive activity. Download the 2018 NDVRW Toolkit for ideas on different kinds of events.
Share Planned Events and Activities with the National REV UP Campaign
We want to track all of the events happening around the country to exceed our goal of 150 events across 25 states in 2018 while also helping connect individuals to events and activities in their community. Please share with us all voting-related events or activities you plan for NDVRW (or throughout the year) – we’ll update our REV UP State Resources and Events web page.
Utilize Rock The Vote’s Online Voter Registration Tool
Rock the Vote’s Online Voter Registration (OVR) platform provides a simple solution for modern voter registration. The tool guides users through the process of registering online and completes the voter registration application for voters in states with online voter registration and prepares the appropriate forms for those in states without online voter registration.
Nonprofits can customize the platform for their organization and add links or widgets to their website. The tool makes it easy to track the number of voters you register. It also includes voters’ contact information so organizations can follow up with a reminder to vote in advance of Election Day.
Collect and Share Data on Voter Registrations and Voter Engagements
An important part of building and demonstrating our political power is collecting data and building lists to show that there are many people with disabilities who are registered and plan to vote – we need your help to accomplish this! Even if your event only registers a handful of people, every amount counts. Please share data on the number of people you register, the number of people who complete a voter pledge, and/or the number of people you engage through educational events.
Highlights from our REV UP State Partners are included below:
REV UP South Carolina
Maggie Knowles – PAVA and Development Coordinator, Protection and Advocacy for People with Disabilities, Inc.
Organized through the South Carolina Disability Voting Coalition, a non-partisan coalition of over 40 non-profit and state agencies dedicated to increasing the number of people with disabilities who vote through voter education and improved access to the voting process.
- 2017 Organizing
- Worked with local libraries – the event space was free and accessible
- Organized activities during lunchtime to catch people on their lunch break
- Allow for plenty of lead time when coordinating with libraries or other external partners
- Notify state or local election officials about your plans – they may be able to participate in your event
- Libraries that proactively advertised NDVRW had higher traffic than those that did not
- Plans for 2018
- Focusing more on online and social media organizing (planning some boosted social media posts)
- Will host some in-person events – training/workshop style events that also have voter registration onsite (by holding events that ask for RSVPs you get a better idea of who will attend, what their accommodation needs are, and what topics they want to learn about)
REV UP Tennessee
Carol Westlake – Executive Director, Tennessee Disability Coalition
- Engaging voters with disabilities in your community takes a team of advocates and organizations working together, year-round
- The Tennessee Disability Coalition has 33 member organizations
- Past Organizing
- Establish local vote committees – train local advocates and support them to do voter engagement work in their own communities (get to know election officials, talk to neighbors, address polling place access issues, get training on accessible voting machines, etc.)
- Hosted “Coffee with Candidates” events to provide a space for members of the disability community to get to know candidates better and for candidates to gain a better understanding of issues that matter to people with disabilities.
- Produced informational cards on voting rights for people with disabilities.
- Engaged parents and family members as important support systems for voters with disabilities
- Obstacles and Challenges
- Tennessee did not have online voter registration until this year
- Lack of information – some people with disabilities do not know they have the right to vote
- Tennessee has voter ID laws that require a photo ID
- Transportation, especially in rural parts of the state
- Plans for 2018
- Promote online voter registration (newly available in Tennessee)
- Meet with the Secretary of State, who is also the State Librarian, to discuss the role libraries can play in voter registration and education
- Organizing a series of events throughout June to thank legislators (based on outcomes of the recent legislative session); events will include voter registration and REV UP branding
- Organizing voter registration events in July in partnership with libraries
- Planning an online and social media campaign during July, including a Twitter chat
- Reaching out to disability organizations on college campuses to engage more young people
REV UP Texas
Bob Kafka and Mark Cundall – REV UP Texas
- Past Organizing
- Create a coalition that brings together centers for independent living, the state protection and advocacy agency, the state developmental disabilities council, chapters of The Arc, the Governor’s Committee on People with Disabilities, Mayor’s Committees on People with Disabilities, and other advocates
- Request Proclamations for NDVRW from state and local government officials
- Organized rallies
- Met with candidates
- Learn what other organizations and advocates are doing in your state so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel; look for partnership opportunities
- NDVRW is about voter registration, but it is also about marketing to promote the power of the disability vote
Utilize information on www.aapd.com/REVUP, especially the graphics and logos
- It’s okay to start small. You can bring together two or three people and still have an impact. Once you get started, you can then focus on growing.
- Working with partners to collect data on voter registration and engagement
- Working to identify regional REV UP Texas partners to fully cover the state (REV UP Regional Partners); REV UP Texas created an outline of expectations/responsibilities for regional partners
- “All politics is local” – it is essential to partner with contacts in different parts of the state that can engage their local community
- REV UP Texas developed a guide to help local partners conduct outreach to local media
- Important to listen to regional partners to get feedback on what is working as well as to solicit new ideas
- Plans for 2018
- Working on a REV UP PSA focused on voter registration
- Planning the 2018 Texas Disability Issues Forum for August
The Ripple Effect of the Disability Vote
There are over 35 million eligible voters with disabilities – that number increases to over 62 million eligible voters (more than 25% of the total electorate) when we include family members in the same households (Doug Kruse & Lisa Schur, Rutgers University). People with disabilities can engage their family, friends, coworkers, and other people in their network to help them understand the issues that are most important to our community.
Libraries Participating in National Disability Voter Registration Week
AAPD is proud to once again partner with EveryLibrary during National Disability Voter Registration Week 2018! Libraries interested in participating can access the updated 2018 “Guide for Libraries” at http://action.everylibrary.org/ndvrw.
REV UP PSA
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions or to see how you can get connected to existing REV UP state coalitions.