Far better late than never! Thanks to Minnesota’s Disability Justice project I have known for months that July 11-15 was National Disability Voter Registration Week. And I knew, too, that July 19 was the deadline to register for the primary elections.
The good news is that Minnesota has voting day registration so it’s not too late for any resident to register – and there’s plenty of time to register in advance for the general election. Note that in addition to new voters, those who have moved, changed their name or not voted for four years are also required to register.
You’ll find more answers than you have questions here: http://vote.minneapolismn.gov/voters/REGISTER
To the present point, the time is now to recognize the importance of everyone’s exercising the right to vote – with emphasis here on the challenges that face voters with physical or mental disabilities. Fortunately, there are resources – print, online and human, at the ready to assist.
At the national level the REV UP! Campaign is the overall coordinator of the Registration Week activities. REV UP! stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power! That pretty well says it all – in an acronym (or a tweet)! The REVUP! Campaign is a project of the American Association of People with Disabilities. (http://www.aapd.com/press-releases/aapd-announces-rev-campaign-making-disability-vote-count/) AAPD has compiled an excellent list of voter information-related resources specifically geared to people with disabilities. This election season they are making a serious effort to collaborate with faith groups to mobilize the disability vote and to encourage candidates to address issues of concern to the disabilities community. The AAPD website offers a host of tips and tools for getting out the vote and raising the issues with candidates. (http://wwwaapd.com)
At the state level, Minnesota Disability Justice (http://disabilityjustice.org) is equally engaged – and their website is also loaded with treasures. Their Justice Denied video (http://disabilityjustice.org/justice-denied/) is an excellent overview of the range of issues facing and resources accessible to people with disabilities. Here’s a link to the specific section on the right to vote – but it’s well worth taking time to view the entire video (http://disabilityjustice.org/right-to-vote)
The important thing is to bear in mind is that the time to take action is now – registration can be an overwhelming hurdle, and the closer we get to going to the polls, the more imposing the barriers can be – or seem. People with disabilities need support – sometimes physical, sometimes a ride, sometimes just encouragement to exercise their fundamental right to participate in the democratic process. We need their voices to be heard and their votes to be counted!