35 Million Voters Strong, People With Disabilities Have Something to Say

Posted on

July 13, 2017

Molly Broadway
Voting Rights Training Specialist
512-407-2725, mbroadway@DRTx.org

Edie Surtees
Communications Director
512.407.2739, esurtees@DRTx.org

AUSTIN— Robert Simmons is a 65-year-old, homeless veteran with disabilities that prevent him from being able to stand in a line or read a ballot. He thought his disabilities and his homeless status made him ineligible to vote, so he never registered.

While attending a local voting rights training held by the REV UP Campaign, Simmons learned about his rights, that he can receive accommodations when voting, and that he was eligible to vote. Motivated by this news, he completed a voter registration application for the very first time in his life. Simmons was overjoyed, stating that he never thought that voting was an option for him. “If it had not been for this training, I never would have known about all the voting options available to me,” said Simmons. “I feel like a full citizen now.”

REV UP is once again participating in a national effort to make the DISABILITY VOTE more influential. The Campaign has designated July 17-21, 2017, as National Disability Voter Registration Week in advance of the November elections. REV UP stands for Register! Educate! Vote! Use your Power!

Nationally, there are over 35 million people with disabilities eligible to vote when registered. This number does not include “the ripple effect” of family, friends, and service professionals who will vote in-line with disability interests.

During National Disability Voter Registration Week, REV UP Campaigns around the country will make a concerted effort to get more people with disabilities registered to vote, educate voters about issues and candidates, promote turnout of voters with disabilities across the country, engage candidates and the media on disability issues, and protect eligible voters’ right to participate in elections.

REV UP Texas is kicking off the week with a press conference followed by Volunteer Deputy Registrar training on July 17, 2017, at Disability Rights Texas located at 2222 West Braker Lane in Austin. 

Featured speakers at the press conference from 11:00 AM-12:00 PM. include:

  1. Mark Cundall, REV UP Texas & Texas Disability Project
  2. Bruce Elfant, Travis County Tax Assessor-Collector and Voter Registrar
  3. Brooke Hohfeld, self-advocate
  4. Cinde Weatherby, President, League of Women Voters-Austin Chapter
  5. Questions for speakers

Molly Broadway, Voting Rights Specialist with Disability Rights Texas, will emcee the press conference.

Volunteer Deputy Registrar training will follow from 12:30 PM to 1:30 PM. The course certifies people to distribute voter registration cards AND to also collect them, making it easier for more people, including those with disabilities, to register to vote.

The public and media are invited to attend both the press conference and the training. Both events are free.

# # #

REV UP Texas is a campaign of nonprofit organizations and self-advocates working to get more Texans with disabilities registered and voting. It seeks to increase the political visibility of people with disabilities while engaging candidates and the media to recognize the disability community. The collaboration includes the Texas Disability Project, Disability Rights Texas, ADAPT of Texas, the Coalition of Texans with Disabilities, The Arc of Texas, and The League of Women Voters.

Visit www.revuptexas.org for more information.

Disability Rights Texas (previously named Advocacy Inc.) is the federally designated legal protection and advocacy agency (P&A) for people with disabilities in Texas. Its mission is to help people with disabilities understand and exercise their rights under the law, ensuring their full and equal participation in society.

Visit www.DRTx.org for more information.