There are over 38 million people with disabilities who are eligible to vote, but access barriers keep many disabled voters from accessing their right to vote.
Disability Voting Rights Week (DVRW) is September 11 to 15, 2023⏤a national, nonpartisan initiative to build the power and presence of the disability vote. This initiative is led by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) REV UP Voting Campaign. The Detroit League knows our voting system works best when all our voices are heard, and we are committed to working with Detroit Disability Power and others to ensure that voters with disabilities have fair and equal access to the ballot box.
During DVRW, advocates and communities build power through voter registration, voter education, community engagement, and more! Through DVRW, we work to ensure that people with disabilities are registered and ready to vote in upcoming elections. Registering our communities to vote, motivating them to participate in every election, and ensuring that we are included in conversations about the issues that impact our lives are all part of building the power of the disability vote.
Why is Disability Voting Rights Week important? People with disabilities are a large part of the population and exist in every political party and demographic. The disability vote can create a more inclusive and accessible democracy. Only 17.7 million of the over 38 million eligible voters with disabilities participated in the 2020 elections. If people with disabilities voted at the same rate as non-disabled voters, there would be about 2.0 million more voters.
In 2022, we saw an increase in turnout of voters with disabilities, but the turnout rate was still lower than that of voters without disabilities. Through DVRW, we can work to close the turnout gap and make a difference in our state, local, tribal, and national elections.
When most people think about voting, they think about voting for the president of the United States. Elections for president happen every four years, and they are important! But there are elections every year, and we believe all are important, so we recognize Disability Voting Rights Week every year. For example, an election for a local school board can affect how much money schools in your area get for things like art, music, sports, even books. Elections for state representatives can affect how specific programs like Medicaid and Medicare work. Even though Medicaid and Medicare have federal funding, state officials have power.
To learn more about Disability Voting Rights Week and how to get involved, visit https://www.aapd.com/disability-voting-rights-week/.