WASHINGTON, Oct. 6 /PRNewswire/ -- The National Organization on Disability
announced today the N.O.D. VOTE! 2000 Campaign, a non-partisan effort to
increase voting participation of people with disabilities in next year's
elections. In announcing the campaign, N.O.D. President Alan Reich cited the
campaign's three objectives: to add 700,000 voters with disabilities; to
increase registration nationwide of people with disabilities; and to ensure
that the nation's 120,000 polling places are accessible to all voters with
The VOTE! 2000 Campaign will be directed by N.O.D. Vice President and
veteran disability organizer, Jim Dickson. "If people with disabilities voted
at the same rate as the non-disabled, 7 million more votes would have been
cast in the last presidential election. We are the 'sleeping giant' of
American politics," Dickson stated.
People with disabilities vote at a rate 20 percent below non-disabled
voters. Poor voter turnout among the disability population is partly a result
of low registration rates -- most disability service providers are in
violation of the National Voter Registration Act (The Motor Voter Law), which
requires them to offer voter registration to their clients. Disability issues
seldom surface in election campaigns. And, inaccessible polling places often
discourage disabled citizens; the Federal Election Commission reports that
there are more than 20,000 inaccessible polling places nationwide.
The campaign will focus on a get-out-the-vote drive in cooperation with
major disability organizations and their grassroots constituencies. It will
call on the Secretaries of State and election officials at all levels to
ensure that polling places are accessible, and that secret ballots are offered
to blind voters. The N.O.D. VOTE! 2000 Campaign will advocate for national
standards for complete polling place accessibility.
A highlight of the campaign will be to secure pledges from 2,000 local
disability service provider agencies that they will conduct get-out-the-vote
drives for their clients during the elections next year. "Not being able to
vote is a denial of citizenship", stated Reich. "Through this campaign, we
are asserting our civil right to vote and advancing America's disability
agenda -- the full and equal participation of America's 54 million people with
disabilities in all aspects of life."
Jim Dickson brings great experience to the N.O.D. VOTE! 2000 Campaign. He
co-founded Project Vote!, played a key role in the passage of the Motor Voter
Law, and spearheaded N.O.D.'s successful campaign to ensure that a statue of
Franklin D. Roosevelt in his wheelchair is added to the FDR Memorial in
Founded in 1982, N.O.D. is the only national network organization
concerned with all disabilities, all age groups, and all disability issues.
N.O.D. accepts no government funds and is supported entirely by private
SOURCE National Organization on Disability