On Monday, July 16th, REV UP NJ hosted the 3rd annual National Disability Voter Registration Week Kickoff at the State House Annex in Trenton. This event, attended by disability and voting rights organizations, disabled self-advocates, Midterm candidates, NJ legislators, and members of the community, celebrated the power of the disability vote while encouraging increased voter turnout.
Represented at this event were many disability and voting organizations including AAPD, NJ Council on Developmental Disabilities, the League of Women Voters, National Disability Institute, Division of Disability Services, NJ Citizen Action, Disability Rights New Jersey, and TCNJ Center for Complex and Sensory Disabilities.
This event was also attended by many candidates, who had time to sit with members of our community and hear their concerns about modern issues facing people with disabilities.
NJ Legislators, including Assemblyman Houghtaling, and Paul Aronsohn from Office of the Ombudsman for Individuals with Intellectual or Developmental Disabilities and Their Families, demonstrated their support.
Self-advocates spoke about the importance of voting and the power of our community.
In addition to our voter registration efforts, we joined forces with the MVC, who brought their mobile unit in order to issue non-license IDs on the spot which will enable people with disabilities to vote.
Participants were invited to share their reasons for voting, which we hope to turn into a digital collage!
Overall, this event was a great success! In addition to celebrating our community's power, we educated legislators and candidates, created a foundation for enhanced civil engagement for individuals with disabilities, issued non-license IDs, registered voters with disabilities, fostered connections among disability and voting rights organizations, and demonstrated that our vote matters.
Be sure to visit the REV UP NJ Facebook page for more pictures of the event!
Are you feeling inspired after this week’s REV UP NJ event? Here are some things you can do to use your power to support the disability vote!
Volunteer for a campaign: Find a candidate you support in your district and reach out to them about opportunities to get involved in their campaign.
Call your representatives: Make your voice heard on issues that are important to you by calling your state and federal legislators. Find your legislator here: house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative and openstates.org/find_your_legislator
Hold a voter registration day: Call your county board of elections to receive a stack of voter registration forms and reach out to local hospitals, schools, libraries, etc. to help them register voters with disabilities in your community.
Collaborate with an organization: Want to get more involved in a disability or voting rights organization that you encountered on Monday? Reach out to them to let them know that you would like to work with them!
Start a local voting rights task force: Work with disability advocates in your community to coordinate local registration/education days, encourage voter turnout in local elections, and create/distribute questionnaires to local level election candidates. Reach out to us for resources and guidance on doing so!
Join the REV UP committee: Sign up on our website to join the REV UP effort and stay updated on upcoming projects: adacil.org/voting.
UPCOMING REV UP NJ EFFORTS
REV UP NJ has distributed candidate questionnaires, designed by disabled self-advocates, to every Midterm candidate. Responses are posted on our website as they are received: adacil.org/latest-updates/nj-candidates-questionnaire-2018. Check it out to see where your candidates stand on disability issues.
REV UP NJ also plans to hold candidate forums in order to bring disabled self-advocates and candidates together to speak about disability issues. Keep an eye out for details on this project!