This week, we celebrated National Voter Registration Day. The holiday is endorsed by the National Association of Secretaries of State (NASS) and supported by the National Association of State Election Directors (NASED).
The goals of National Voter Registration Day are to:
- Register voters
- Mobilize volunteers
- Educate voters: it’s important to know your rights! There are options like early voting or absentee ballots to accommodate voters who may have a conflict or an inability to get to the polls.
- Unite for a common purpose
Voting is a national issue, but it is also a particularly relevant issue for the disability community. There are many barriers that prevent people with disabilities from voting in-person or at all. Often times, the polling precincts aren’t compliant with accessibility standards in the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and have physical restrictions preventing access to the buildings or lack accommodations for people with visual or hearing impairments. In many cases, poll workers have turned away people with intellectual and developmental disabilities because they incorrectly believe the person doesn’t have the mental capacity to vote.
Federal and state government officials are responsible for voting on legislation that directly impacts people with disabilities every day0 .Ensuring individuals have the opportunity to engage in this civic duty is vital as proper representation in elections is necessary to really be person-centered.
Let’s keep the momentum of National Voter Registration Day going and continue to spread knowledge and resources to help people register to vote.