2020 Presidential Election Information For Citizens with Disabilities

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"Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us.
The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country."

- Franklin D. Roosevelt



Voting Process

Step 1: Get Fired Up!

�We need to do what needs to be done to ensure our vote counts, all while advocating loudly for change. You will be tempted by apathy � that nagging, deceptive voice that tries to convince you that your work will not matter. Do it anyway. Once apathy takes hold, it is a most formidable, destructive beast. Fight it."

Read more of our blog post 2020: A Future With Us?

Read our (still relevant) 2015 blog post Nothing About Us Without Us


Step 2: Know Your Rights

There are numerous laws in place to ensure that every eligible voter is given the opportunity to cast a vote. You cannot be turned away at the polls due to a lack of accessibility. Poll workers must accommodate your disability and provide an opportunity for you to vote in a private manner.

For more on Voter Accessibility, refer to the following laws:

  • Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): Title II of the ADA requires state and local governments to ensure that people with disabilities have a full and equal opportunity to vote, including voter registration, polling site selection, and the casting of ballots, whether on Election Day or during an early voting process.
  • Voting Rights Act of 1965 (VRA) requires that any indivdual who is blind, or who has any other disability that prevents them from casting a ballot, be allowed assistance from a person of the voter�s choice (other than the voter's employer or its agent or an officer or agent of the voter's union). Additionally voters cannot be turned away on the basis of illiteracy.
  • Voting Accessibility for the Elderly and Handicapped Act of 1984 (VAEHA) requires accessible polling places in federal elections for elderly individuals and people with disabilities. Where no accessible location is available to serve as a polling place, voters must be provided an alternate means of voting on Election Day.
  • Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA) requires jurisdictions responsible for conducting federal elections to provide at least one accessible voting system for persons with disabilities at each polling place in federal elections. The accessible voting system must provide the same opportunity for access and participation, including privacy and independence, that other voters receive.

  • Be Proactive!

    There are still thousands of polling places that fail to meet the minimal accessibility guidelines for voters with disabilities. There is still time to contact your County Elections Office to discuss your needs as a voter with a disability. Be sure to share the Americans with Disabilities Act Checklist for Polling Places with the elections officials in your jurisdiction.

    Contact the candidates' campaigns and ask them to ensure they are considering Americans with disabilities. Forward the following guide: Including People with Disabilities in Your Political Campaign: A Guide for Campaign Staff.


    Step 3: Register to Vote

    In a number of states you must register to vote as far as 30 days in advance of the election, while in others you can register at the polls on election day. Each state has varying deadlines and requirements for registration (including residency requirements).

    Keep in mind that you must be registered with the municipality in which you currently live. So if you've moved, you may have to register again. To learn more about your state's voter registration guidelines, visit Project Vote Smart: Voter Registration or visit CanIVote.org to find out if you are already registered and/or more about your state's registration deadlines and requirements.

    You can also contact your State Election Office to ensure you are registered in time for the 2020 election.

    Another great resource is The Voter Participation Center. They have a goal to reach the "invisible" Americans, those voting age citizens who are less likely to register, and therefore vote.

    You may also wish to get involved in the National Voter Registration Day movement and encourage others to register.


    Step 4: Educate Yourself on the Candidates and Their Policies

    Do not simply rely on the campaign commercials splashed across your television screen; read up on the candidates' stances on the issues, check out their voting records, get to know them inside and out. We have offered a number of resources below to help you get to know the candidates.


    Step 5: Cast Your Vote

    What should I bring to the polls? What if I cannot make it to the polls on Election Day?

    If you are unable to go to the polls on election day, there are processes in place that will still allow you to vote. Contact your State Election Office to learn about their Early Voting and Absentee Voting procedures. Be sure to contact them well in advance of the election (at least 2 weeks) to ensure you meet the requirements and deadlines.


    The Nominees

    In alphabetical order -

    Joe Biden, Democrat
    Former Vice-President
    https://joebiden.com
    @JoeBiden

    The Biden Plan for Full Participation and Equality for People with Disabilities
    Americans With Disabilities
    Health Care
    The Biden Plan to Combat Coronavirus (COVID-19) and Prepare for Future Global Health Threats


    Donald Trump, Republican
    President of The United States
    https://www.donaldjtrump.com
    @realDonaldTrump

    No disability policy page
    Health Care


    To check out a complete list including the candidates that dropped out and links to their campaign websites as well as their disability policy positions, visit Crip The Vote: 2020 Presidential Candidates

    For more in depth research on voting records, visit Vote Smart: Facts Matter.


    What's Next? (Important Dates and Election Events)

    Primaries

    The first step in the presidential race is to narrow the nominee field. That happens via individual primaries in each state. They are staggered throughout late winter and spring. Here's a complete list of Presidential Primary dates.


    The Issues

    See the links above but not quite sure which candidates represent your needs and beliefs? Here are a few great tools that can help you get to know the candidates and the issues.

    I Side With is an online quiz that matches your positions on Education, the Environment, Domestic Policy, the Economy, Social Welfare, Foreign Policy, Health Care and Immigration with those of the candidates. This tool is a great starting point to help you discover who's policies might align with your hopes for America.

    Politifact.com measures the truthfulness of statements made by the candidates.

    Tax Policy Center provides articles and papers on how taxes impact our nation. Via their 2020 Election Center you can review non-partisan analysis of each candidate's tax plan.

    The Respectability Report offers a nonpartisan political commentary on the 2020 U.S. election with a focus on disability issues.

    Vote411 offers comprehensive information on everything you need to vote! With their voters' guide you can see the races on your ballot, compare candidates' positions side-by-side, and print out a "ballot" indicating your preferences as a reminder and take it with you to the polls on Election Day.

    Vote Smart is a comprehensive election tool that provides unbiased facts on all of the candidates. Simply type in the candidate's name and have access to their bio, voting record, policy positions, an archive of their speeches and a list of major campaign contributors.


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