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

The Impact of the Disability Community on Elections

What does this fall’s election mean for disability policy? We are invisible – even if we vote if we are not counted in the polls. Candidates do not think people with disabilities are important enough to seek out prior to the election!

Voting is Patriotic - America + FlagOn Thursday July 31st from 1:30-2:45 p.m., the NCIL Voting Rights Task Force will be presenting a workshop at the 2014 Annual Conference on Independent Living called “The Impact of the Disability Community on Elections”. Mark Mellman, of the Mellman Group, which was named the 2013 Pollster of the Year by the American Association of Political Consultants, will present up-to-date information on polling and lead a discussion with workshop attendees. Mellman identifies people with disabilities for some of his clients.

Dr. Lisa Schur of Rutgers’s University will discuss which segments of the disability community voted and which did not in the 2012 elections. She will also talk about the problems faced by people with disabilities in the 2012 elections. The research she will discuss can be found at

You will leave this session with an understanding of the power that the disability vote could have on public policy and strategies to increase voter engagement in our own communities. Voter turnout by people with disabilities continues to be less than that of populations without disabilities, yet the disability community represents one of the largest minorities in the country.

However, there are a few exceptions to this disparity. It was reported by Indiana Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities Newsletter, June 2013 “the voting gap between people with and without disabilities was eliminated – 59 percent of each population voted.” and that Indiana remains proactive in addressing these issues.

Other pollsters have also been invited.

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