Self-advocates – are you going to vote? Tell us your story

This election year, The Arc has been on a mission to highlight the importance of voting to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD), their families, and everyone who supports our issues through the “We’ve Got the Power” campaign.

Now we want to hear from self-advocates about their experience getting involved in our democratic process. Are you registered to vote? Have you experienced any obstacles to registering, or accessing information about the election process in your community? Are you excited to vote? Is this your first time? Why is it important for you as a self-advocate to participate in the election?

If you are a self-advocate with a story to share, or know someone whom we could talk to, please contact Kristen McKiernan or Sarah Bal.

Department of Justice settlement in Michigan

The Department of Justice reached a settlement agreement under the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) with the city of Flint, Michigan, to make all of its polling places accessible to people with disabilities by the November 2012 election. The city has 61 voting precincts housed in 35 polling locations. DOJ found that many of the locations were not accessible to people with disabilities. The city agreed to remove all barriers to access at polling places or to relocate polling places to alternative, accessible locations by Election Day. After the election, the city agreed to make accessibility a major criterion when selecting new locations for polling places.

Department of Justice rejects South Carolina’s voter ID law

The United States Department of Justice (DOJ) rejected South Carolina’s law requiring voters to provide photo identification in order to cast a vote. DOJ decided that, based on data provided by South Carolina, the law would discriminate against minority voters. Several other states passed voter ID laws in 2011 to fight voter fraud. In its decision, DOJ said that SC failed to include any evidence of voter fraud that was not addressed by current state laws. DOJ is reviewing the voter ID law passed by Texas and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) has filed a lawsuit concerning Wisconsin’s law.