FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE CONTACT: Carole Tonks, Executive Director, Alliance
Center for Independence Phone: (732) 738-4388 / E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
This Tuesday, November 7th, NJ voters will go to the polls to elect our state’s 56th governor. “New Jerseyans will make an important choice this election day, and we have been working to ensure that voters with disabilities are well informed about the candidates and are able to participant fully in the election process,” says Carole Tonks, Executive Director of the Alliance Center for Independence (ACI).
Nearly 10% of the state population identify as having a disability.
During the spring, ACI worked with Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power - New Jersey (or REV UP NJ) organized a series of “meet and greet” events with many of the primary candidates for governor, including the Green Party candidate. This was an opportunity for people with disabilities to learn about the candidates’ position on disability related topics. During the forums candidates to learned about the issues that are on the minds of people with disabilities, including, health care, disability employment and housing.
Leading up to the primary, ACI disability-related questions to the candidates. Many candidates responded. Here is the link to the questions and responses: https://www.adacil.org/latest-updates/nj-gubernatorial-candidates-questionnaire-2017
The number of people with disabilities participating in the election process continues to lack behind the rest of the population. According to a report co- authored by Douglas L. Kruse, Professor at Rutgers University’s Department of Labor Studies and Employment Relations, and Lisa Schur, the voting turnout among eligible people with disabilities nationally is 6.3 percentage points lower than the general population, in last year’s general election. In NJ the gap was little more than 3% in that election. However, these numbers represent an increase in the overall participation of people with disabilities, compared to the 2012 election.
To encourage greater participation of people with disabilities in the election process, ACI and REV UP NJ organized the National Disability Voter Registration Week Kick Off event in Trenton in July. The event featured noteworthy speakers on the voter rights of people with disabilities, including advocates with disabilities. Among the guest speakers was Helena Berger, President and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), which recently produced this REV UP NJ PSA on the importance of voting among people with disabilities: https://vimeo.com/238873048
At the 7th Annual NJ Disability Pride Parade and Celebration, hosted and organized by ACI, a representative from Democratic Candidate Phil Murphy’s campaign, as well as Green Party Candidate, Kaper Seth-Dale addressed the crowd.
The Alliance Center for Independence (ACI). ACI is a 501(c) (3) community-based, grassroots organization that supports and promotes independent living for people with disabilities in Middlesex, Union and Somerset counties. Last year ACI organized REV UP NJ, a chapter of the national REV UP, an effort to increase the participation of people with disabilities in the election process throughout the country.
ACI and REV UP are strictly non-partisan organizations and do not endorse or support any candidate for political office.