You Don't Count If You Don't Vote
Count Us IN was a Council project designed to improve polling place access and increase the number of Hoosiers with disabilities who are involved in the electoral process as voters and volunteers. While the project is not currently active there are many resources available that can assist you in achieving those goals in your community
Traditionally, people with disabilities have lagged behind other Americans when it comes to voting. People with disabilities are registered to vote at a rate that is at least 10% less than the overall population; voter turnout for people with disabilities is about 20% less than the population in general.
American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD)
AAPD’s Disability Vote Project addresses the fundamental inequalities faced by this nation's voters with disabilities, and works in a nonpartisan manner to ensure they are provided full accessibility to all polling places and voting equipment.
To join the Disability Vote Project Listserv, please sign up by sending your name, mailing address, and email address.
AAPD Disability Vote Project
1629 K Street NW, Suite 503
Washington, DC 20006
The AAPD Presidential Election Action Center will keep you updated with action alerts, candidate and campaign news, get-out-the-disability-vote initiatives, and all things related to the 2008 presidential election. www.aapd-dc.org/News/election/peac2008.php
Survey Polling Places for Accessibility
The Secretary of State and Counties continue to insure that polling places are in compliance with the accessibility provisions of HAVA, the Help America Vote Act and the state's HAVA implementation plan. HAVA requires all polling places and voting equipment to have been fully accessible by January 1, 2006. With the help of advocates Count US IN surveyed all Indiana polling places and provided information on the changes that were needed.
- Survey your own polling place and test out the accessible voting machine by asking to use to vote. (Anyone can use the accessible machine) If you run into problems contact your local Clerks office and the Indiana Attorney General
- Work with local advocates and the County Clerk to do a formal evaluation of polling places especially any that have be moved or changed since the last election.
National Accessibility Polling Place Survey: http://www.ada.gov/votingck.htm
Background: The National Voter Registration Act or "Motor Voter" law requires all public and private agencies and individuals serving people with disabilities to offer voter registration. Despite the law, a 2000 National Organization on Disability/Harris poll indicated that only 44 percent of people with disabilities have been offered registration services.
- Ask about voter registration when visiting local state agencies, not-for-profit organizations and others to ensure that all who have an obligation to offer voter registration are doing so.
Obtain some copies of voter registration from to pass out at meetings. Help your group or organization conduct voter registration drives. For voter registration forms and other information please see the see the Secretary of State's Election Division website.
Work with a local group to conduct voter education activities such as candidate forums and candidate surveys.
AAPD has a survey that was sent to candidates for President that can give you some ideas to ask federal level candidates: www.aapd-dc.org/News/election/downloads/candidate_ques.doc
One of the best ways to become politically active is to get directly involved in the process. Contact your party or County Clerk's office to find out about working at the polls - these are paid positions and direct interaction with other poll workers is a great way to sensitize them to the needs of voters with disabilities.
Another great way to get involved is by volunteering for the political party or candidate of your choice. Campaigns are always looking for volunteers to perform a variety of tasks and again, this is a good way to raise awareness of disability issues within the campaign itself.