Disability Voting Rights Week, during the week of September 12-16 this year, is committed to building the power and presence of the disability vote in our communities. This Disability Voting Rights Week, we are rallying the disability vote, making sure our communities are registered and ready to vote and have access to the ballot. When people with disabilities unite and advocate for civil and disability rights, meaningful change can be achieved. In 2022, millions of disabled people will cast their ballots in elections across the country that will impact access to health care, financial security, the ability to live in community, and so much more.
Disability Votes are Powerful
This Disability Voting Rights Week, we want disabled voters to remember: Your vote is your right and your vote is powerful. There are over 38 million people with disabilities who are eligible to vote. However, descrimination, inaccessible voting processes, and exclusion from democracy lead to a turnout gap between voters with and without disabilities. Disabled voters are regularly left out of the political process and ignored in policies that directly impact their lives. In fact, less than 1 in 3 disabled voters thinks that leaders in Washington, D.C., care about people with disabilities. That’s why all of us need to collectively come together and use our voice at the ballot box
Voting Accessibility in Ohio
In Ohio, all polling places must accommodate voters with disabilities. The Help America Vote Act requires that all voters must have the ability to independently cast a private ballot. If you are unable to enter a polling place to vote, election officials will bring ballots outside to you so you can vote curbside. Voters may request the ADA compliant voting machine at their polling place. Another option for not just disabled voters, but any registered voter in Ohio, is to vote with an absentee mail-in ballot. You don’t need a reason to vote absentee in Ohio, so anyone can request to vote with an absentee ballot.
No person should be denied the right to vote because of mobility, vision, speech, cognitive, intellectual, or hearing impairments. If you experience voter intimidation or suppression at the polls due to a disability, make sure you call the 866-OUR-VOTE Election Protection hotline to report it and receive help from a trained volunteer.
Read more about voting accessibility for voters with disabilities on the Secretary of State website.
Vote Like Your Life Depends on It
“Vote as if your life depends on it — because it does.” ~Justin Dart, father of the ADA and co-founder of the American Association of People with Disabilities
We need everyone to answer Justin Dart’s call to action and make sure you are registered to vote. Our lives, especially the lives of people with disabilities, depend on it. Every vote matters this fall, and when we use our collective power to create a democracy that represents and serves all of us, no matter our race, zip code, or abilities, we can create an Ohio where everyone can thrive.