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Independent Living News & Policy from the National Council on Independent Living

NCIL Disability Vote Organizer Talks Disabilities and Campaigning with She Should Run

This week, NCIL’s Disability Vote Organizer, Sarah Blahovec, sat down with She Should Run to talk about the challenges to participating in and running political campaigns for people with disabilities. She Should Run is “a non-partisan 501(c)3 that provides an approachable starting place and network for women leaders considering a future run for office and for those who support them.” Much of this work is accomplished through She Should Run’s Incubator program, which provides resources and a community for women to develop their leadership skills as they consider running for office.  

Blue, red and red words on a black background with quote "people with disabilities are passionate and engaged in their communities. We have a lot to say. We can be a resource to your campaign as voters, volunteers, or staff, but only if you treat us like equals." White lettering at the bottom says "Sarah Blahovec, Disability Vote Organizer, National Council on Independent Living," with the words She Should Run in the bottom right corner."Sarah talked with She Should Run about the widespread barriers to participation throughout the political process for people with disabilities, including in voting, participating in campaigns, and running for office. Highlighting the barriers to voting, which include inaccessible polling places and voter information on election websites, Sarah said: “If inaccessibility is this prevalent just for voting, imagine the access barriers for someone with a disability who wants to go a step further and become involved with a campaign or run a campaign themselves.” Among these challenges, she discussed how many campaigns don’t understand how to make their information or their volunteer positions accessible to people with various disabilities, and how this can deter people from learning about candidates or from volunteering on a campaign. Many people first pique their own interest in running for office by volunteering on other campaigns, and if campaigns are inaccessible, people with disabilities lose out on this valuable experience.  

Sarah also went on to discuss NCIL’s campaign accessibility guide and talk about how campaigns and candidates can work toward accessibility, and why people with disabilities should consider running for office: “nothing is going to change unless we get in there and do something about it. It’s not easy to run for office, especially if there are barriers to running a campaign with your disability, but people with disabilities have run, and won, campaigns in the past. We’re running and winning now, and we’re going to continue to do so. We need people with disabilities to put their leadership skills to use and run for office.” You can read more over at She Should Run’s Incubator 

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