By Jason Silverman
In the 1990’s, disabilities advocates worked hard to get voting rights that are equal for all. Voting is not only a right; it is also a responsibility. People with disabilities have the right to express their views at the polls without fear of physical barriers. Everyone should vote in every election as it not only affects our current lives, it also helps shape the future of our society.
Let our elected officials know that everyone’s voice counts.
The American Association of People with Disabilities (AADP), through their REV UP campaign, will launch National Disability Voter Registration Week (NDVRW) July 15-19, 2019. REV UP stands for Register, Educate, Vote, Use your Power.
An annual campaign is a great way to get people registered, but every day should be Disability Voter Registration Day. In Horry County, there are several ways to register: in person at the voter registration office in downtown Conway, which is also on the Rt. 7 bus route, by downloading the voter registration form or by logging on to the HCDP website and selecting Register to Vote under the Get Involved section.
One advantage of getting registered at the voter registration office is that you can sign up to get a permanent plastic voter registration card with your picture on it. This also serves as your photo I.D. when you vote.
NDVR is a good time to check your voter registration online at scvotes.gov to verify that you are not only registered, but to make sure your address is up to date and check the location of your polling place. Before the primaries in 2020, it’s good to make sure you know where your polling place is located and that you have a plan on how to get there.
Many people with disabilities find it easier to vote by Absentee Voting ballot. You can also visit the voter registration office for in person absentee voting several weeks before an election. There are many reasons allowed for in person absentee voting, including transportation issues.
At election time, people with disabilities can use curbside voting at their precinct polling place. This means that the voting machines will be brought out to your car so you won’t have to walk or stand in line. You do not need a disability tag to vote curbside.
People with vision or hearing disabilities must receive accommodations so they can cast their ballot privately at their polling place. If you request assistance from anyone, they are allowed to help you in the voting booth with knowledge of the clerk who is in charge. If you use a wheelchair or scooter, you can have the voting machine at a comfortable level for you.
Traditionally people with disabilities have had low rates of voter registration and turnout. As you can see, voters with disabilities have many options for casting their very important vote in any election.
Act now to get registered or verify your registration. Then make your voice heard at the ballot box!