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Disability Voting Rights and the June 28 Illinois Primary!

 

June 27, 2022 | by Amber Smock

Access Living friends and allies,

Tomorrow, Tuesday June 28, is the Illinois primary election. 

For this election, you are voting for the top candidate in your registered party only. The final election for the overall top candidates is this fall on Tuesday, November 8. As we know, it is critical that people with disabilities exercise our right to vote! If you have not already voted through early voting or vote by mail, tomorrow is the big day. As a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, Access Living does not endorse any candidates, but we’d like to share some important things you should know about voting.

Disability Voting Helpline:

Equip for Equality will once again be offering a Voters with Disability Helpline on the day of the primary election, Tuesday June 28. Equip is an independent nonprofit organization dedicated to advancing the human and civil rights of children and adults with disabilities in Illinois. They will have advocates available by telephone to answer questions about any voting problem you may experience. You can reach them at:

  • Voice Telephone: 1.800.537.2632
  • TTY: 1.800.610.2779
  • Text: (only for people who are deaf, hard of hearing or who have speech impairments) 312-826-0049*
  • E-mail: voting@Equipforequality.org
  • Available from 6 am to 7 pm

*Please note that the text option is ONLY available on Tuesday, June 28

Advocating on Disability Issues with State and Local Midterm Election Candidates: 

For those of you looking to increase candidates’ accountability on disability issues, check out this article from Forbes by disability writer Andrew Pulrang. Purling does a nice job of breaking down races that have an impact on the lives of people with disabilities, and how to communicate with candidates and campaigns.

Are Disability Voting Rights in Danger?: 

The answer, across the United States, is yes. Our right to vote is a critical part of our lives in this country. However, voter disenfranchisement is real and there are many ways that the rights of voters with disabilities can be denied. Check out this article from the Pew Charitable Trusts to learn about threats to disability voting rights. While in Illinois we are relatively better off in terms of protecting our right to vote, there are some states where it’s REALLY bad. Thus, it is just even more critical that we do in fact vote.

Protecting Our Rights in Illinois: 

If you’ve been following our advocacy alerts this year, you will know that advocates with print disabilities won a big victory in Illinois. Print disabilities mean that a person has difficulty reading or handling print material. This spring, Illinois legislators passed an elections bill package that included a provision to ensure access to digital ballots for voters with print disabilities who want to vote by mail. Then, the Illinois State Board of Elections went the extra mile to make sure that digital vote by mail was available for voters with print disabilities for the primary election this month as well. Kudos to the advocates from groups such as National Federation of the Blind Illinois and the Illinois Council of the Blind for this important victory. We will be reminding you about this option ahead of the November 8 election.

Please share this critical info with fellow Illinois disability voters! Thank you for your advocacy.