Groups Work To Close Gap In Voter Turnout Between Texans With Disabilities And Those Without

KUT,  July 16, 2019

"Advocates say they're hoping to register more Texans with disabilities ahead of the constitutional amendment election in November and the presidential primaries next year.

Across the country, voter turnout among people with disabilities is lower than those without disabilities.

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There are an estimated 2 million registered voters with disabilities in Texas. Disability rights groups have been working to increase that bloc of voters for about three years.

Part of that work involves recruiting people to register voters, said Jeff Miller, a policy specialist with Disability Rights Texas. He said it’s important for those folks to have a lot of information about what they should do when helping people with disabilities.

“Texas has some rather strict laws around registration,” he said. “It’s really important that people that are helping other people register to vote understand what those laws are and what the rules are around when you take a card from someone or when you can help them mail the card or whatever.”

Bruce Elfant, Travis County’s tax assessor-collector and voter registrar, said volunteers need to be prepared to make sure voters have all the information they need in order to vote.

“We need to be equipped to provide information about voter ID, early voting, available assistance at polling places and voting by mail opportunities,” he said.

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In 2018, though, the disability rights community nearly closed [the 2014 turnout] gap. Folks with disabilities had a 48.2% turnout, while people without disabilities had a 48.4% turnout, according to the study.

Miller said groups need to continue organizing to make sure that gap in turnout is fully closed. "

 

By Ashley Lopez

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