First of all, I’m really interested to hear about people’s voting experiences, particularly around disability access issues, so please feel free to drop me a comment and let me know how things went in your neck of the woods. Rumor has it that my fair city has an accessible voting machine at every polling place, and I’m hoping that the poll workers (whose work I appreciate greatly, in all seriousness) are willing to, say, plug them in.
Second, my dear friend J. has helpfully put up this page full of useful links for voters with disabilities, with an emphasis on Massachusetts voters. The Disability Law Center of Massachusetts will also be open and taking calls from Massachusetts voters with disabilities with questions or complaints about access to voting. They can be reached by phone at (800) 872-9992 or by TTY at (800) 381-0577. Here’s hoping you don’t need them.
Third, United Cerebral Palsy, aka UCP, is using the microblogging site Twitter to track where people with disabilities are and are not having access issues at the polls. If you use or are interested in using Twitter, they’ve provided instructions for participating; if you don’t, they’ll tell you how to keep an eye on things via their blog and other non-Twitter sites.
Fourth, if you are eligible to vote in the US and you have not yet voted (this early voting thing is all trendy all of a sudden, eh?), please do so. Not only is it your right as a citizen, but so many people are still being denied the right to an independent, anonymous vote that it’s really an insult to them to eschew your opportunity if you have one. I’m not in the habit of playing more-oppressed-than-thou – frankly, we’re all in this together – but if anyone else experienced the regular and rampant violation of voting rights that happens to people with disabilities as a matter of course, there’d be riots in the streets. I’m not saying that these things don’t happen to anyone else. I’m saying that they happen all the time to us, and it’s not on the radar at all.
On that cheerful note, go forth and vote. And if you’re in Massachusetts, please, please consider voting against Proposition 1. Eliminating the state income tax would pretty much end any public services for people with disabilities in our fair commonwealth, not to mention elder services, lots of educational and health care programs, and thousands of jobs. Voting for Proposition 1 will not make a statement, it will bite off our nose to spite our face. This seems to me like a dumb idea. So please don’t.
Thanks, and happy Election Day! Don’t forget to chime in on how yours went! I’ll be voting before work tomorrow, and gnawing my arm off in front of the TV with friends and loved ones after work.