91 Days Until the Election: Are You Vote Ready?

Check Your Voter Registration Status

This year due to the COVID-19 pandemic every registered voter in California will receive their ballot in the mail. While this does not mean that you have to vote-by-mail*, it does mean that it is more important than ever to be sure that your voter registration is up to date. After all, how will your ballot get to you if your address isn’t up to date? Fortunately, you can check and update your voter registration online at the California Secretary of State’s website.

When you check your voter registration status you can make changes to your address, name (if you have legally changed it), language preference, and political party affiliation. On the same webpage you can also register to vote for the first time if you are a qualified voter. If you will turn 18 on or before November 3rd you can pre-register to vote on the same page.

Even if you’re fairly certain that your voter registration is up to date, checking online is fast and easy, so please check your status just to be sure! And please keep checking the Monday Morning Memo for more information on voting in the upcoming weeks and months.

Check Your Voter Registration Status

*More info on how to vote by mail, drop off your ballots, and in person voting coming soon.

Disability Vote California: Staying Engaged After National Disability Voter Registration Week

Register to Vote

As you know, last week was National Disability Voter Registration Week. Individuals and organizations across the country engaged potential voters with disabilities online and within their communities. It was a wonderful example of what can be accomplished when we all work together towards a common goal. In this case, the goal of full participation for all eligible voters with disabilities in the November 3rd presidential election and beyond. Obviously, this goal cannot be accomplished in one short week. It is up to us to keep the momentum going! Visit DisabilityVoteCA.org for resources and information on the rights of California’s voters with disabilities, and stay tuned for more voter engagement activities and opportunities here in the Monday Morning Memo.

 

National Disability Voter Registration Week – What are You Voting For?

Register to Vote

 

This week is National Disability Voter Registration Week! This is great news as there are approximately 4 million people with disabilities in the state of California, more than enough to make our voices heard at the polls if all of us who are able register and vote for the candidates and laws that we think are best.

Your vote is your voice in democracy. As the video above shows, there are a lot of issues facing people with disabilities right now. Voting for the candidates and laws that reflect your values is an essential way to ensure that your government deals with these issues in the ways that you would like them to.

Sometimes voters with disabilities face barriers to voting. To learn about voting accessibility and rights for California voters with disabilities visit www.DisabilityVoteCA.org.

It is important for every person who is eligible to vote. You can help by registering yourself to vote, and this week especially, encourage every member of the disability community to register to vote. We can all use our voices in our democracy by voting on November 3rd.

Remote Accessible Vote-By-Mail Information

People with disabilities face challenges and barriers when voting and are often underrepresented at the polls. We have a unique opportunity to dramatically increase the disability vote in the upcoming November 3rd presidential election, as the state of California will be voting-by-mail. In May of this year, Governor Newsom issued Executive Order N-64-20, which, among other things, orders the November 3, 2020, General Election to be conducted as an all-mail ballot election. Accordingly, all registered voters in California will receive a vote-by-mail ballot in the mail prior to the election.

Voting-by-mail will make voting easier for people with many types of disabilities. Yet people with vision or dexterity disabilities may find the standard vote-by-mail ballot inaccessible. Fortunately, Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail (RAVBM) is now available in all California counties. RAVBM empowers people with vision or dexterity disabilities to vote privately and independently in the safety of their homes by using their own screen readers or adaptive technologies. To learn about RAVBM please read this fact sheet from Disability Rights California. The fact sheet is also available in Spanish.

To request RAVBM voters will need to contact their local county elections office, so if you think this is something that will help you or someone you know please contact your county elections office soon.

Visit DisabilityVoteCA.org for more information on accessible voting.

 

NDVRW Social Media Tools to Encourage Voter Registration

 

If you or your organization are on social media and would like to motivate your followers to take part in National Disability Voter Registration Week, Disability Vote CA has put together a collection of social media assets that you are welcome to use!

This collection contains images, sample posts, Gif’s, videos, and flyers that you can print and write in why voting is important to you. The hashtags associated with NDVRW are #DisabilityVoteCA #RevUP #NDVRW. Using these hashtags will allow you to connect with other people and organizations who are working to make sure that every eligible person with a disability can exercise their right to vote.

 

California Voting Rights Under Conservatorship

In a democracy the right to vote is an essential way for citizens to participate in civic life. Our vote is our voice in government. This is true for all adult citizens, including people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD). Yet before a recent change in the law, many people who are under conservatorship had this right taken away. The good news is that you may be able to have your right to vote reinstated by the court.

If you or someone you know is under conservatorship and want to check their eligibility to vote, or learn how to have their right to vote reinstated, visit the Voting Rights: Persons Subject to Conservatorship page of the Secretary of State’s website and read this fact sheet from Disability Rights California. As the process of having your right to vote reinstated may be time consuming it is a good idea to start the process as soon as possible.

You are eligible to vote in California if you are:

  • A United States citizen;
  • A resident of California;
  • 18 years of age or older on Election Day;
  • Not currently imprisoned or on parole for the conviction of a felony; and
  • Not under a conservatorship where a court ruled you are not allowed to vote.

If you are eligible to vote in California and want to register or check to make sure that your registration is correct you can do so online at the Secretary of State’s webpage, www.registertovote.ca.gov.

 

Learn About Voting: Plain Language Guides from The Arc of The United States

The presidential election is on November 3rd this year. In the state of California, we will all be voting by mail because of COVID-19. For many people with disabilities this may be their first time voting. For others who have voted before this may be their first time voting by mail. Even though November 3rd may seem a long time away, it’s a great idea to begin learning about voting early. In that spirit, it’s important to share these plain language voting resources from The Arc of The United States so that every eligible member of our community can exercise their right to vote.

The Guides:

·     Disability Voter Guide

·     Guía para votantes con discapacidades

·     The 2020 Election & You: Thinking about Disability

·     La elección de 2020 y usted: pensando en la discapacidad

·     Sample Questions for Candidates

·     Ejemplos de preguntas para los candidatos

You can register to vote online in California on the Secretary of State’s website. On the same website, you can also check your registration status and make changes if you have moved or changed your name since the last election.

Participate in Elected for Inclusion: A Presidential Forum on Disability Issues

The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) and REV UP Texas will host Elected for Inclusion, a national nonpartisan Presidential candidate forum on disability issues. Elected for Inclusion will take place on January 13, 2020 at the AT&T Hotel and Convention Center in Austin, Texas. The forum will give major party Presidential candidates an opportunity to address questions and discuss policy decisions that affect approximately 23% of the American electorate.

Below are a few ways to get involved with the forum and promoting disability rights in the upcoming elections.

  • Spread the word about the forum and purchase tickets for $10.
  • If you are unable to attend the forum in person then host a watch party and tune in through our livestream. Check out AAPD’s website for more information about watch party options.
  • Become an official sponsor for the forum! Email Maria Town (mmtown@aapd.com) for more information about sponsorship opportunities.
  • Post on social media about the importance of the disability vote, and tag the candidates in posts about attending the forum. Please use hashtags: #REVUP #Elected4Inclusion #CripTheVote.

Links Roundup: Presidential Candidates Share Their Disability Policy Plans

“Standing up and fighting for the disability community is not a partisan or a political issue; it’s an issue of right and wrong, of going backwards or moving forward.” – Julián Castro

Although California’s presidential primary election won’t be held until March 3, 2020 it is never too early to start learning about the candidates and how they might help or hurt the disability community. For the first time that I can recall the majority of presidential candidates have issued disability specific policy guides. Candidates are talking about every aspect of life with a disability – education, employment, housing, healthcare, transportation, voting rights, social security reform and improvement, in home support, mental health, disaster preparedness, police interaction, criminal justice, engaging in disability policy on the global stage, and more – this is a major shift from previous elections. This shift indicates that people with disabilities are finally being recognized for the contributions we make and the challenges we face in America.

This links roundup includes the candidates’ disability specific policy plans (when available) as well as their broader policy plans. Please read them at your leisure, discuss them with your friends and family, and vote on March 3rd.

Candidates with Disability Specific Policy Plans

Democratic Candidates:

Joe Biden on disability: https://joebiden.com/disabilities/
Biden’s other policies: https://joebiden.com/joes-vision/

Cory Booker on disability: https://corybooker.com/issues/equality-for-people-with-disabilities/
Booker’s other policies: https://corybooker.com/issues/

Steve Bullock on disability: https://stevebullock.com/accessibility/
Bullock’s other policies: https://stevebullock.com/fair-shot-agenda/

Pete Buttigieg on disability: https://peteforamerica.com/policies/access/
Buttigieg’s other policies: https://peteforamerica.com/issues/

Julián Castro on disability: https://issues.juliancastro.com/equality-for-people-with-disabilities/
Castro’s other policies: https://issues.juliancastro.com

Kamala Harris on disability: https://kamalaharris.org/policies/people-with-disabilities/full-policy/
Harris’s other policies: https://kamalaharris.org/policies/

Bernie Sanders on disability: https://berniesanders.com/issues/disability-rights/
Sander’s other policies: https://berniesanders.com/issues/

Joe Sestak on disability: https://www.joesestak.com/issues/disability-rights/
Sestak’s other policies: https://www.joesestak.com/plan-for-america/

Elizabeth Warren on disability: https://tinyurl.com/vn8xzmg
Warren’s other policies: https://tinyurl.com/s8ojr84

Marianne Williamson on disability: https://www.marianne2020.com/issues/disability-justice
Williamson’s other policies: https://www.marianne2020.com/issues

Candidates without Disability Specific Policy Plans

Incumbent Donald Trump: https://www.promiseskept.com

Republican Challengers:

Joe Walsh: https://www.joewalsh.org
Bill Weld: https://weld2020.org

Democratic Candidates:

Michael Bennet: https://michaelbennet.com/vision/
John Delaney*: https://www.johndelaney.com/issues/
Tulsi Gabbard: https://www.tulsi2020.com/record
Amy Klobuchar: https://amyklobuchar.com/policies/
Wayne Messam : https://wayneforusa.com
Tom Steyer: https://www.tomsteyer.com
Andrew Yang: https://www.yang2020.com/policies/

*Mr. Delaney has a mental health policy platform: https://www.johndelaney.com/issues/mental-health/

National Voter Registration Day is TOMORROW are You Registered to Vote?

National Voter Registration Day is tomorrow, Tuesday, September 24th.

Register to Vote

The disability community relies heavily on government services yet, people with disabilities vote less often than non-disabled people. According to a recent study, if people with disabilities voted at the same rate as people without disabilities who have the same demographic characteristics, there would be about 2.35 million more voters nationally.

Voting is an important way we have a say in our government and therefore our lives. If you’ve recently moved, turned 18, or changed your name please take this opportunity to update your voter registration, it only takes a few moments.

There are barriers that we face as people with disabilities when voting. Polling places can be inaccessible, if we are conserved there are legal matters to consider. Some of us may even be hospitalized on Election Day. The best way to get around these barriers is to know your rights in advance. Visit DisabilityVoteCA.org to learn about your rights and please share this information with your friends and family members with disabilities.