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50 State Guides Released for Voters with Disabilities

Voters with disabilities can learn candidate plans on disability, education, jobs, immigration, climate crisis, criminal justice and more 

Three RespectAbility team members holding up signs that say "Earn My Vote". Red and blue borders. Text: 2020 Disability Voter GuideWashington, D.C., Oct. 7 – As Americans are voting in record numbers and just before the Vice Presidential debate tonight, the nonpartisan disability group RespectAbility has released 50 state voters guides containing key information on where candidates stand on issues impacting Americans with disabilities.

Voters with disabilities are a massive pool of potential voters who have often been ignored in past elections. However, those voters are now more engaged and active than ever. According to a recent study by Rutgers University, up to 38.3 million eligible voters are people with disabilities. This represents a massive increase in participation by voters with disabilities compared to past elections. Further, millions more Americans have friends or loved ones with disabilities.

“Our polling in 2018 showed that 74 percent of likely voters are touched by disabilities,” said RespectAbility chair and former Congressman Steve Bartlett, who was a primary author of the Americans With Disabilities Act. “Our nation was founded on the principle that anyone who works hard should be able to get ahead in life. People with disabilities deserve an equal opportunity to earn an income and achieve independence just like anyone else. Candidates for office who ignore the disability community do so at their peril.”

To close the gap between candidates competing for this huge block of potential voters and voters with disabilities who need to know who to cast their ballots for, RespectAbility has systematically reached out to Democratic and Republican candidates for President, Governor and the U.S. Senate. Each campaign was invited to complete their answers to seven key questions covering employment, education, accessibility and inclusion.

This questionnaire builds on candidate outreach work done earlier this year during the Democratic Presidential Primary as well as past work in 2018 and 2016.

Even for the states where campaigns did not complete the questionnaires, RespectAbility’s diverse team of Staff, Fellows and volunteers created individual state voter guides. All 50 guides have been compiled online at RespectAbility’s nonpartisan blog here: https://therespectabilityreport.org/2020/09/22/2020-voter-guide/

With days to go to Election Day, RespectAbility is still accepting responses to the candidate questionnaire from campaigns, so if a candidate has not answered the questions, please invite them to do so. We hope that this information will enable you to make informed decisions in this election. You can find full, detailed coverage online at https://therespectabilityreport.org.

RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so that people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of their communities. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. The questionnaire is purely for educational purposes as voters go to the polls. View all 2020 general election state voter guides: https://therespectabilityreport.org/2020/09/22/2020-voter-guide/


Find Your State Voter Guide

Meet the Author

Philip Pauli
Philip Pauli

Philip Kahn-Pauli is the Policy and Practices Director of RespectAbility, a nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities for people with disabilities. He works with state leaders to develop solutions for youth with disabilities, support job seekers with disabilities and open pathways into the workforce. To reach him, email philipp@respectability.org.

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