Early Voting Starts Next Week
Mark your calendar, Early Voting for the 2020 Primary Election begins Tuesday, February 18! To show the power of the disability vote, we all must prepare to participate and ensure our elected officials are aware of, and can address, the issues that are important to us.
Voting the Primaries—Why it Matters!
Turning out to the polls during primaries, while less glamorous than voting in the November presidential election, still has a hefty impact. Here’s why:
Presidential candidates are a big draw, but candidates in other national, state, and local elections will also be on your ballot. Much of the policy that has a direct impact on our lives happens at the state and local level; don’t miss this opportunity to select who represents you!
Second, in some state races, a party is running uncontested; for example, only Republicans and no Democrats may be running for a particular office. This means that whoever wins the primary wins the election. In these cases, don’t wait for November to vote for your candidate!
Finally, once elected, representatives may refer to your voting record (whether you voted in a given election, not who or what you voted for). In other words, your elected officials pay attention to whether you regularly participate in the democratic process. This could give you a boost any time you contact your legislators about making a change or issues that matter to you.
2020 and the Power of the Disability Vote
People with disabilities represent about 20% of the U.S. population (that figure jumps to over 25% of eligible voters when you count family members in the same household). https://www.census.gov/newsroom/releases/archives/miscellaneous/cb12-134.html
While this community has historically faced daunting barriers at multiple points in the voting process, voter turnout of people with disabilities surged in the 2018 election. A Rutgers study concluded that 14.3 million people with disabilities voted in that election, 49.3% of eligible voters with disabilities, compared with 40.8% in 2014. https://smlr.rutgers.edu/sites/default/files/2018disabilityturnout.pdf
In Texas, a 2018 study by Austin Community College reflected this trend at the state level and confirmed what many of us have observed for years: Texans with disabilities are politically engaged and vote in extraordinary numbers. In the 2016 General Election, for example, 72.1% of 868,763 Texans with accessible parking placards voted compared to 62.5% of all voters. http://www.revuptexas.org/new-acc-study-reveals-texas-sized-disability-voting-bloc/
The disability community represents an important and potentially influential voting bloc. To make the disability vote count, people with disabilities need to be actively involved in the election process and press candidates to give their positions on issues that affect them and their families. Candidates that support the equality and full inclusion of disabled people will benefit from the power of the disability vote.
Do you vote by mail? Check your signature!
Signature discrepancies on mail in ballots may cause your vote to go uncounted! Make sure the signature on your mail in BALLOT is as close as possible to the to the signature on your vote by mail APPLICATION. https://www.sos.texas.gov/elections/voter/reqabbm.shtml
You must request your mail in ballot by Friday, February 21, 2020 to vote in the primaries.
Election Protection Hotline
If you encounter problems at the polls on Election Day, call any of the Texas Election Protection Hotlines:
English: 866-OUR-VOTE (866-687-8683)
Spanish: 888-VE-Y-VOTA (888-839-8682)
Asian Languages/ English: 888-API-VOTE (888-274-8683)
Arabic/ English: 844-YALLA-US (844-925-5287)
American Sign Language (video call): 301-818-VOTE (301-818-8683)
Disability Rights Texas: 888-796-VOTE (888-796-8683)
More info: https://texasvoterprotection.org/
The presidential race is getting all the headlines, but a ton of important state level races are happening too! Compare candidate profiles and find your polling place with The League of Women Voters Texas Voters Guide. https://my.lwv.org/texas/voters-guide
Add key 2020 election dates to your calendar. The Texas Tribune has the WHENs covered, right through Election Day in November. Add key Texas dates to your Google Calendar or iCal in one click. https://www.texastribune.org/2020/01/09/add-texas-2020-election-dates-your-calendar/
Check your voter registration status with the Secretary of State’s office. Look it up using your birthdate and either your Voter ID #, Texas Driver’s License #, or name and county. Am I Registered? https://teamrv-mvp.sos.texas.gov/MVP/mvp.do
Coalition of Texans with Disabilities
1716 San Antonio Street
Austin, Texas 78701
The Coalition of Texans with Disabilities (CTD) is Texas’ oldest and largest cross-disability advocacy organization. CTD is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization with Federal Tax ID #74-2071160. Contributions are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.