Did you know your voice, views, and concerns are important and can influence the government?
Elections and voting are opportunities to make your voice heard. Whenever you vote, you do just that! Coloradoans have at least one opportunity to vote in a general election held every year on the first Tuesday of November. Voting is important for everyone, but especially the disability community.
This voting season, our self-advocate interns at Developmental Pathways (DP) want to remind you why your vote matters:
Did you know that not all states have the same rules around voting?
While the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and other federal legislation protect some rights and accommodations, the states decide most of what happens during an election. States have different election rules, such as showing an ID card, voting by mail, or early voting.
Only ten states allow an individual with a guardian to vote. Colorado is one of those states; here, someone with a guardian can receive their ballot, make their own choices, and vote. Our interns were surprised that such a rule even exists!
Unfortunately, in the states where individuals with a guardian cannot vote, their choices and voices are limited. This significantly impacts people with an intellectual and/or developmental disability (I/DD). People with I/DD are often more affected by government actions because federally funded human services programs like Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) provide many services and supports that help them live independently.
One in four adults in the U.S. has a disability. According to an article in Time Magazine, a Rutgers University analysis “found that if people with disabilities voted at the same rate as similar people without disabilities, there would be 2.35 million more voters.” Suppose you count people that live in a household with someone with a disability; that number rises to 10.2 million. And then, further factoring in the number of friends, service providers, and other professionals in the disability field, many people care about the issues facing people with disabilities!
Voting matters for all populations, but for the disability community, it’s critical to vote for the elected officials that directly impact and fund the programs, services, and supports available.