In the 2016 election, a presidential election, national voter turnout was only 61.4% of those eligible, 56% in Indiana. As we near the midterm elections in November, it is predicted that only 40% of those eligible will vote. How many of those aren’t voting because they don’t know how to access the voting booth or are unaware of the importance of midterm elections? For those with disabilities, these are common factors for not voting.
The first thing you need to know is that local elections are just as important as Presidential elections. Our local and statewide officials impact decisions that affect our lives. Those with disabilities who rely on our government to support their needs should be aware of and have a say in who represents them when important legislations are passed. Many of those representatives are found at the state and local level. Researching the issues around what each candidate bases their platforms could help become more informed and decide whether or not those issues impact your life enough to choose to vote. Chances are, they will.
A major factor in lack of voter turnout amongst those with disabilities is the accessibility of the polling locations or the ability to get to a polling location. However, if you are unable to cast your vote at your designated polling place, you have many options to still vote. You can mail in a ballot or call in a voting board to somewhere in which you are confined due to illness and cast your vote with them. What if you make it to the polling location but need help? You can bring someone in to help you or even ask poll workers to assist. You can even register to vote from home. Don’t let your designated polling location be a barrier to exercising your right to vote.
Midterm elections are on November 6th. That means you still have time to register (deadline is October 9th). In the meantime, go here to learn about your voting rights and do research on important topics that will come up in this election. If you know someone with a disability who has not been voting for any of these reasons, please share this information with them. We all can make a difference in our country and it starts by choosing leaders that have our best interests as priority. See you at the polls!