Disability Voting Power, Essential Programs, and Watching Political Representatives
Published : 2011-07-10 - Updated : 2017-06-28
Author : Wendy Taormina-Weiss - Contact: Disabled World
Synopsis: There are currently between 33.7 and 35 million People with Disabilities of voting age in America.
People with Disabilities as a minority are greatly affected by public policy. The services we rely on and receive are all the result of public policy.
Justin Dart, advocate and, 'Father of the ADA,' often told people with disabilities to, "Vote as if your life depends on it. Because it does." His words are as true as ever today with politicians attempting to enact cuts to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid; the very safety net programs so many People with Disabilities, Seniors, Children, and Veterans with Disabilities rely upon. The nation is in a budget crisis, but these populations simply cannot be expected to pay for this nation's debt.
People with Disabilities as a minority are greatly affected by public policy. The services we rely on and receive are all the result of public policy. Policies that support People with Disabilities and others who find ourselves unable to participate fully in the workforce help to define America as a society. They are among the policies that keep America from becoming a mere mob or rabble.
There are a number of issues remaining which require political action where People with Disabilities and public policy are concerned. These issues may never be resolved if action is not taken. For example; studies have shown that People with Disabilities are interested in public affairs and government and desire to participate. Yet the fact remains that we are many times locked out of polling booths and are forced to remain home on election day.
We Are Large, We Have Voices
There are currently between 33.7 and 35 million People with Disabilities of voting age in America. For many of these voters, the reality is that a great many polling places are inaccessible. It is not because polling officials are deliberately blocking access to polling places, making them inaccessible to People with Disabilities. It is simply the fact that in violation of state and federal laws, thousands of polling places across America are physically inaccessible to us and deprive us of our fundamental right to vote.
Statistics related to the 2008 Presidential election revealed that People with Disabilities voted in record numbers, according to the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). The AAPD is America's largest cross-disability membership organization. We do vote and want to vote, we simply need more access to be able to vote.
Professors Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse of Rutgers University's School of Management and Labor have conducted a number of studies related to voting and People with Disabilities. One of their studies reveals that 3.8 million more People with Disabilities voted in the 2008 Presidential election than in the 2000 Presidential election. According to their study, 14.7 million Americans with Disabilities voted in the 2008 Presidential election, and around 10.9 million People with Disabilities voted in the 2000 Presidential election.
Professor Schur stated, "While the voting numbers among people with disabilities in 2008 indicates that they continue to face barriers in registration and voting, the fact that 14.7 million people with disabilities voted shows that they play an important role in the political process." The numbers of Voters with Disabilities in 2008 clearly demonstrates that we are just as large of a voting bloc as other minorities. Compare the 14.7 million People with Disabilities who voted in the 2008 Presidential election with the 15.9 million African-Americans and 9.7 million Hispanic voters and the minority voting picture becomes apparent.
Our Programs are Essential, Watch Those Representatives!
Seniors in America, like People with Disabilities, face issues with Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid that can only be met by ballots and organization, making action today vital. It is incredibly important for Seniors and People with Disabilities to remain informed with the latest information available concerning the actions of political representatives in relation to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Staying up-to-date on the actions of representatives who are attempting to cut funding for these incredibly important programs gives us the chance to respond before actions are taken that can negatively affect us.
Seniors and People with Disabilities vote in impressive numbers when compared to others, giving us great influence over public policy. Our influence can grow. The population of people over the age of sixty-five, for example, is currently around 34.7 million people and is expected to double over the next three decades to nearly 70 million people. Activism and voting translates into political power that is unmistakably recognized by political representatives.
Seniors, People with Disabilities, and Veterans with Disabilities working together and participating in the political process can achieve meaningful changes. Voting is power and it is crucial for us to make our voices heard so our needs are met. Please stay up-to-date on the latest actions of political representatives in relation to Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid. Most importantly, remember to vote.
Please contact your representative in Congress - you can reach them through: A Citizen's Congressional Directory - www.contactingthecongress.org
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Cite Page: Journal: Disabled World. Language: English (U.S.). Author: Wendy Taormina-Weiss. Electronic Publication Date: 2011-07-10 - Revised: 2017-06-28. Title: Disability Voting Power, Essential Programs, and Watching Political Representatives, Source: <a href=https://www.disabled-world.com/editorials/political/disability-vote.php>Disability Voting Power, Essential Programs, and Watching Political Representatives</a>. Retrieved 2021-06-19, from https://www.disabled-world.com/editorials/political/disability-vote.php - Reference: DW#309-8160.