Get Out the Vote!

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Colleen Starkloff Talks Disability

Midterm elections are Tuesday, November 6, and it’s time that the Disability Community rise up and vote!  I stand with the American Association of People with Disabilities’ campaign, RevUP, which focuses on getting out the disability vote is spreading across the nation. RevUP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!

You have rights! Remember that as a voter with a disability, you have the right to:

  • Vote privately and independently
  • Have an accessible polling place with voting machines for voters with disabilities
  • Wheelchair-accessible voting booths
  • Entrances and doorways that are at least 32 inches wide
  • Handrails on all stairs
  • Voting equipment that is accessible to voters who are blind or who have low vision
  • Bring your service animal with you into your polling place
  • Seek assistance from workers at the polling place who have been trained to use the accessible voting machine
  • Bring someone to help you vote (including a friend, family member, caregiver, assisted living provider, or almost anyone else, but not your employer or union representative).
Source: https://www.aapd.com/advocacy/voting/

It’s important to know your voting rights, because this midterm election is more critical than many in the past. We’ve been organizing and fighting for productive independence, competitive employment, universal design, access and more since the mid-60’s in the United States.  We have been speaking against discrimination, paternalism and isolation.  Our fight has been so impactful that it migrated to foreign shores.  Everyone wants to be part of their communities rather than be isolated and marginalized.  In today’s world, we face pushback to our dreams now more than ever before.

This issue is not solely confined to people with disabilities – we have families, friends, and co-workers who also benefit from our rights. Businesses benefit when we spend our money on goods, products and services. At any time, you or a loved one, or friend, or a colleague could become disabled.  Our nation is rapidly aging into disability.  Disability affects people of color, ethnicity, LGBTQ, women, men – anyone can become disabled.  Disability does not discriminate between political parties, either!

Our issues cross all lines.  We want to work, pay taxes, have the right supportive services, and integrate into our communities. We don’t want to lose healthcare for pre-existing conditions or be forced into nursing homes for lack of personal assistance in our own homes to help with daily tasks. Without your vote for people who believe in these rights, we stand to lose it all.

So… What do we want?  Equality!  When do we want it?  NOW! You don’t have to be disabled to use your vote to secure the established and continued progress of our community. Your vote matters more than ever in these upcoming midterm elections. Let’s RevUP, my friends!

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