For Immediate Release
Contact: Tina Pinedo
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) and the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) have partnered together to highlight the realities facing the over 17.5 million people with disabilities who cast a ballot in 2020. The Disability Vote Summit will be held on Tuesday, September 14 at 12pm EST.
“Few lawmakers know how many people with disabilities are registered voters, let alone the challenges they face when trying to do so,” said NDRN Executive Director Curt Decker. “Even less know what policies matter to these voters. In our survey, 50 percent of voters with disabilities said candidates’ stances on disability influenced who they voted for. It would behoove candidates of all stripes to learn what those policies are.”
“Voting is one of the many ways that people with disabilities self-direct our own lives, said Maria Town, president and CEO of AAPD. There are more than 35 million eligible voters in the disability community, and yet we are all too frequently prevented from equal participation in the democratic process. Understanding the significance of the disability vote and steps we must take to increase disabled voter turnout is necessary to build a more inclusive nation.”
The event will be divided between a series of panels that explore the experiences and needs of voters with disabilities, and panels that explore how to make that experience more accessible and fulfilling. Data presentations will be delivered by NDRN, the National Federation of the Blind, Self Advocates Becoming Empowered, and Drs. Douglas Kruse and Lisa Schur of Rutgers University.
The first panel, focused on improving accessibility, will be moderated by Sarah Blahovec of the National Council on Independent Living, and will feature Ben Jackson of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, Terry Ao Minnis of Asian Americans Advancing Justice, and Kriston Pumphrey of SignVote.
The second panel, focused on improving advocacy among the disability community and policymakers alike, will be moderated by Marlene Sallo of the Disability Law Center, and will feature Theresa Moore of Self Advocates Becoming Empowered, and disability rights advocate Gaylon Tootle.
“This event is an opportunity for the disability community and lawmakers to meet each other halfway. It is a chance for activists to show, by the numbers, where progress is needed. It is a chance for those who help administer the programs that spend billions of dollars to benefit people with disabilities to learn how to serve that community better,” continued Decker. “This is a chance to make the voting experience better for people with disabilities and to ensure that politicians are giving them what they need to be motivated to overcome existing barriers to the vote.”
NDRN highly encourages policy makers and their staff, as well as anyone interested in disability advocacy, to register for this educational event: bit.ly/disabilityvotesummit2021
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The National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) is the nonprofit membership organization for the federally mandated Protection and Advocacy (P&A) Systems and the Client Assistance Programs (CAP) for individuals with disabilities. Collectively, the Network is the largest provider of legally based advocacy services to people with disabilities in the United States.