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Voting Issues

It's election year, somewhere in the world and voting turn out for people with disabilities is much lower than everybody else. They face extra barriers both in and out of the voting booth.

Voting booths should be accessible wherever they are, this should go without saying. Voting booths need to be in an accessible building and wide enough to fit a standard wheelchair. It is important that any early voting places also have these standards. I know that I voted early last time to avoid the crowds. Some people that have disabilities may think that this is a good option.

Transport is also an issue; if you use a wheelchair you may require a taxi to go places that are further away Ideally booths would be spread out throughout the city, so this may not be an issue. If you are booking a taxi there is no harm in booking in advance. I would hope any care homes use their vehicles to the booths. I would advise political groups to contact care homes to ensure that this happens, arranging a visit to campaign is a good idea too.

Some people cannot write for themselves and would need a carer to do it. It's worth making sure that they tick the right box. If they don't, take someone else in the future. Electronic voting could be a possible solution however in my opinion would be very easy to fudge the numbers.

Voter apathy is also a problem. People with disabilities may feel disconnected from the political process. Governments always use jobs to get people to vote for them but rarely address the lack of employment opportunities that people experiencing disabilities face. Disability is not a big policy platform and when it is it demonizes them. Considering the number of people having disabilities is increasing in some countries recently politicians should do more to reach out.

Voter ID could be a barrier, this is a particular issue in red states. If you cannot drive, you won't have a driver's license. Getting another ID may also cost money that you don't have, if you have to rely on taxis the costs also increase. While there are exemptions to laws some polling operators don't know who qualifies.

While so much funding disability comes from governments it is critical that people who have disabilities get to vote and be involved in the political process. This also means joining political parties and making your voice heard in terms of policy formation. Disability organizations also need to step up, while you can't advocate for any political party you could possibly remind people to vote, it could make a difference to their life.
Posted at 12/11/2015 18:42:31 EST 0 comments

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