To Vote or Not to Vote?


Indeed. That is the question.

Alright, this election cycle doesn’t rate even in the top ten most inspired elections. Nonetheless, it is an important election for individuals and families with special needs.

Your involvement in this election packs a punch when it comes to shaping future policies which will impact funding in Alabama. Your vote counts, but how do you make sure you are making an informed selection?

Travel past political ads and journey into each candidate’s individual road map for issues which are important to you. Seek to understand exactly how the candidates will represent you.

The voting concern for people with disabilities is this; how do we shed light on the issues without unduly influencing their vote.
At first, voting, for a person with a disability, can be overwhelming. When adding looking at state and local races, it is most poignantly real.  Frankly, these races are crucial in matters which directly impact people with disabilities and their families. Disability-Vote-Ripple-Effect-2.0-detailThe passage of the stunning bipartisan efforts regarding the Workforce Innovation and Opportunities Act (2014) and the Able Act (2014) represented beneficial changes for individuals with special needs in regards to employment and the ability to save money for education, housing, and work.

Check out these resources available in your community:

The Alabama Voting Advocacy Program

ADAP seeks to improve access to the voting process for individuals with disabilities. Services provided under this program include surveying polling sites throughout Alabama to determine any accessibility issues, voter registration information to persons who contact ADAP, as well as publishing of educational information regarding the rights of persons with disabilities in the voting process. If desired, ADAP can provide training to persons with disabilities, poll workers, and members of the general public explaining the rights of persons with disabilities in the voting process.

Not registered to vote in Alabama? You can register online here! The last day to register is October 24th.

For additional resources take a look at this tip sheet offered by the US Election Assistance Program or visit the American Association for People with Disabilities website.

On a personal note, in 2008, the Democratic National Convention was held in Denver, Mikelle greatly enjoyed learning about the election process. Denver. (insert picture). Colorado is a swing state. Therefore, the dialogue was rich and varied. Together, Mikelle and I attended a variety of candidate forums, visited many local officials in their offices asking them questions via her communication device. Mikelle learned a great deal about the candidates by their willingness to meet with her and how seriously they took her concerns about the issues affecting her.

Ultimately, she made some important decisions regarding local races. The highlight of that election season was the invitation to attend President Obama’s acceptance speech at Mile Hi Stadium where she received VIP treatment.  MikelleObama

Beyond that amazing experience were the connections she made with other Colorado citizens who learned more about the issues Mikelle personally faces each and every day.

No matter what candidates you support, active participation is the key to citizenship in a democracy. Voting is a community building activity. Voting enriches our life while connecting us to important issues.

To vote is to exercise power.

Be sure to make a note to vote!