Making elections accessible to *all*

Voting Rights Organizing Coordinator Chueqa Yang on Disability Voting Rights Week, and the importance of creating a truly representative democracy.

In a representative democracy, it’s vital that every voice is heard. This is especially true when it comes to one of our most fundamental rights – the right to vote. Disability Voting Rights Week highlights the importance of making the electoral process accessible to all, regardless of physical or cognitive disabilities. People with disabilities constitute the largest minority group in our country, yet they are not adequately represented in our electoral process.
It is so important that we prioritize enhanced accessibility in the voting experience. We must also acknowledge that certain voting laws directly affect the lives of individuals with disabilities, which underscores the necessity for the disabled community’s voices to be heard.
 Let’s remind ourselves and others of the struggle for equal access to the ballot. During Voting Rights Disability Week, let’s recognize the unique challenges faced by individuals with disabilities – and work toward potential solutions.
Some examples of these challenges include a lack of access to information about candidates and their policies. This can be limiting to people with disabilities, who may struggle to use traditional campaign materials or websites that are not designed with accessibility in mind.
Physical accessibility, too, is an ongoing concern. Many polling places are not wheelchair-accessible or lack proper accommodations for voters with mobility impairments. Given that they may encounter barriers just to enter the polling station, this can discourage people with disabilities from voting at all.
This week, join us in reflecting on the progress for individuals with disabilities to have equal access to the ballot, and pledging to do what it takes to make us a fully representative democracy. While significant strides have been made in the last 20 years, there is still work to be done to make our democracy truly inclusive. Let’s remember that everyone’s voice matters, and let’s remind others that a more accessible and inclusive electoral process benefits society as a whole. Together, we can create a space for all voters.
– Chueqa Yang
Voting Rights Organizing Coordinator

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