If you didn’t know, September 22nd was National Voter Registration Day. I shared about it on my Facebook page as well as Instagram Stories. If you had an event, let me know, so I can share your voter outreach!
As I mentioned, it was National Voter Registration Day yesterday. I wanted to do more, share more, and participate. My local library even had a virtual event! You should love your local Library and always support their events, especially now. (That will be another post.)
However, my body was not obligating yesterday. I was in bed for some of it– and was not feeling the best. I don’t really like talking about the not so pretty parts of my life, but alas. As a person who is chronically honest, I can’t deny that I have a chronic illness. I also make chronically corny jokes, too. Life tip from me to you: I learned a long time ago if you want to make your life better, focus on others. Make jokes too, even if they’re bad. Laughing is good. It’s okay to focus on yourself, too, but spend most of it on others. Good humans get rewarded for good work, I believe.
That brings me back to these key points:
The lack of my body cooperating reminded me of why I became so passionate about voting in the first place. The thing is, I am someone who is disabled and whose disability requires specialized medications. It means policies like healthcare, for example, are a huge thing.
If you are wondering above by the way, “Why she is holding a bar code?” That’s totally okay. I’ll explain it. This is actually a voter registration from When We All Vote which is a nonpartisan voting organization. I’m so proud to be a Squad Captain for When We All Vote. When you whip out your smartphone, it’ll open up a website where you can register to vote. This is super great for voter outreach– and my friends have been using it! I point my camera at the QR code, a website pops up, and then it redirects me here. If you’re isolated at home because of COVID, you can encourage your loved ones (you see) or PCA (personal care attendant) to register! Bam!
The coolest part of When We All Vote’s registry is that it offers MULTIPLE languages too! I talk a lot about accessibility.
To advocate for accessibility, it must mean that I have to advocate for all forms of accessibility. Not just physical access, but all forms of it. If you want to advocate for accessibility, you need to implement it into your life. That means you need to offer space for me, but also everyone in need of accessibility.
I grew up in a family where English was not the only language that I heard. It means that I was aware that access to space was complicated and complex. It means that I understand that access isn’t given, despite it being a basic human right. It means that I want to make accessibility something that I improve upon in all facets of my life.
As someone with a disability (especially living in a rural area), I know why voting matters. Policies, politics, and politicians all matter deeply to me because I am a disabled young woman— and will live through the decisions made by these politicians for a long time.
When I cast a vote, I have to work harder to vote. We often don’t have physical access to voting. It’s stressful and not fair. Disabled people are now listening to the “evils” of mail-in voting while many of us (myself included) require isolation and or some of us require voting in person due to limitations with mail-in voting due to disability.
To make it more complicated, there are disabled people in nursing homes where COVID-19 has presented such inaccessibility and even potentially denied their voting rights. This is not okay, but yet this is reality.
This is why I’m reminding you to register. I’m reminding you to encourage others you know to vote, especially if they’re disabled. I have talked to a few disabled people over the last few weeks. No matter who you vote for, I just want you to vote!
I’m encouraging you to be accessible with your messages for outreaching. Think of homes where the music is multilingual and some who don’t have an address beyond the homeless shelter. Use voting materials that’s accessible and make yourself sensitive to the world.
Accessibility counts so much for the physical, but also how we navigate digital spaces— and should apply to other aspects like linguistic and emotional. Disabled people are diverse. Not all disabilities are the same. Just like how accessibility is a complex issue, so is disability. Disability also applies to learning disabilities, developmental disabilities, Deafness/hearing disabilities, and I can keep going on. Not everyone with a disability is the same. We are diverse!
And so with this, I’ll finish by saying:
For 2020, I encourage you to embrace ways to encourage those with disabiltiies to vote. I’ll be celebrating this week with spreading voting information with my friends at the Voting subcommittee, sharing content, and materials!
I have a lot to say as a woman with a disability, a Marylander with a disability, and a believer in making rural communities better for people with disabilities. If you want to make your community better, you need to vote! Get registered, friends!