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The RespectAbility Report Posts

Trump and Biden Campaigns to Speak at Disability Summit

Washington, D.C., July 31 – With 94 days until the Presidential election, surrogates from the Trump and the Biden campaigns will address a nationwide audience of more than 2,000 disability advocates, subject matter experts and community leaders gathered to mark the thirtieth anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. 

Since Monday, July 27, the national disability nonprofit RespectAbility has hosted a series of virtual #ADA30 events focused on some of the most critical issues impacting people with disabilities in our nation today. 

RespectAbility Releases 2020 Disability Voter Questionnaire for Senate and Governor Races

Washington, D.C., July 24 – RespectAbility, a nonpartisan national nonprofit organization fighting stigmas and advancing opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community, is now sending its nonpartisan voter questionnaire to candidates in competitive Senate and Governors races across the country.

The outreach is being done in conjunction with RespectAbility’s online publication, TheRespectAbilityReport.org, an online publication around the intersection of disability and electoral politics. The answers to the questionnaire will be turned into nonpartisan voter guides in key battleground states across the country. 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

Biden and Trump campaigns release diversity data – but disability isn’t included

Washington, D.C., July 12 – After increased calls to disclose campaign staff diversity data, both the Biden and Trump campaigns released the diversity statistics of their teams, showing that less than half of their full-time and senior staffs are comprised of minorities. Noticeably absent from the data that has been…

Disabled Veteran Being Vetted for VP Nomination

Washington, D.C., July 11 – Sen. Tammy Duckworth (D-IL) has been receiving much attention in recent weeks in the press as a potential running mate for presumptive Democratic Presidential nominee Joe Biden. Duckworth being on the ticket would be notable for several reasons. If Biden were to choose her as Vice President and win the 2020 Presidential election, Duckworth would be the first woman to serve as Vice President, the first Asian American to be elected as either Vice President or President, and the first person with a visible disability since Franklin Delano Roosevelt to be elected either as President or Vice President. Like many of the 57 million Americans with disabilities, Duckworth was not born with a disability but acquired one later in life.

Blind Michigan Supreme Court Justice unable to receive absentee ballot, turned away

BIRMINGHAM, Mich., July 9 – A blind Michigan Supreme Court Justice was turned away from a clerk’s office while trying to retrieve and fill out his absentee ballot last week because the workers did not know how to get him his ballot.

Justice Richard Bernstein, who was elected as the first blind justice to the Michigan Supreme Court in January 2015, told local reporters that “I think what I experienced was the fact they didn’t have any idea what the protocol was,” and that he has nothing bad to say of the workers in the office, only that they simply did not know what to do. 

Trump Campaign Surrogate’s Message: “Uplifting and Celebrating Americans with Disabilities”

Washington, D.C., July 7, 2020 – In a video message played at POWER: the Disability Vote, a national, non-partisan Disability & Election Virtual Summit hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the Trump reelection campaign finally broke its long silence on disability issues. The President’s daughter-in-law and campaign adviser Lara Trump spoke in a direct message with subtitles about creating “real and meaningful change for the disabilities community” and how “every American should have the utmost chance to pursue his or her American dream.”

The video is the first statement of any kind released by the President’s reelection campaign that touches on the issues impacting more than 60 million Americans living with disabilities. That number includes people with visual impairments or hearing loss, people with visible conditions such as spinal cord injuries, and the wide range of non-visible disabilities such as learning disabilities, mental health disabilities, or autism.

Joe Biden’s Message to Voters with Disabilities: “Dignity and Opportunity”

Washington, D.C., June 29 – Former Vice President and Democratic Presidential Nominee Joe Biden had a clear message for the disability community this past week: “Everyone is entitled to a life of dignity and opportunity.” In a video message played at POWER: the Disability Vote, a national, nonpartisan Disability & Election Virtual Summit hosted by the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), Biden spoke about his legislative record in the Senate and his vision for advancing disability rights if elected President. 

Speaking of his legislative efforts as a Senator from Delaware, Biden talked about working on the passage of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 in his “first year in the Senate.” This law, which specifically prohibited “discrimination on the basis of disability in programs conducted by federal agencies,” created the legal environment that directly lead to the mobilization of the disability rights movement. Biden then talked about the passage of the Fair Housing Amendments Act (FHAA) of 1988. This law explicated added people with disabilities to the categories of people protected from discrimination “in housing sales, rentals or financing.” Lastly, he spoke with great pride about being counted among the cosponsors of the Americans with Disabilities Act in 1990. 

AAPC Webinar: The Swing Voter Bloc You Might Be Overlooking

Date: Monday, June 22, 2020
Time: 1:00 p.m. ET / 12:00 p.m. CT / 11:00 a.m. MT / 10:00 a.m. PT

RSVP: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/1961165212618960142

Every vote counts and persuading swing voters to support your candidate or cause can be key for successful campaigns. There’s one swing voter bloc that you might be missing though: voters with disabilities. With more than 19 million registered voters, you’ve likely interacted with this community without even realizing it. Join us for this educational seminar to learn more about this voter bloc. Walk away with:

  • A better understanding of what this key segment of the electorate looks like
  • Strategies to reach and communicate effectively with these voters
  • An understanding of how COVID-19 is expected to impact turnout for this voter bloc

Amid the Pandemic, Biden Campaign Unveils Disability Plan “For Full Participation and Equality”

Washington, D.C., May 28 – After months of frustration, anticipation and advocacy by the disability community, presumptive Democratic presidential nominee and former Vice President Joe Biden unveiled his campaign’s disability platform. The plan, intended to positively impact the lives of the one-in-five Americans living with a disability, covers a range of issues as diverse and broad as the wider challenges facing the nation. Critically, the plan commits Biden and his campaign to ensure that “people with disabilities have a voice in their government” and are included throughout the “policy development and implementation” process. 

The plan specifically delineates how a Biden presidency would  “enforce civil rights,” ensure “affordable health care,” expand “competitive, integrated employment,” “strengthen economic security,” improve “educational programs,” and address “affordable housing, transportation, and assistive technologies” needs in the community as well as advancing “global disability rights.” 

Nine Tips for Political Candidates: How to Connect with Voters with Disabilities

By Lauren Appelbaum and Hon. Steve Bartlett Washington, D.C., May 28 – As political campaigns seek to connect to every voter, it is important to include voters with disabilities. RespectAbility staff looks forward to assisting all campaigns in achieving these important goals and tips outlined below: 1) Start right away on…

COVID-19 Economic Benefits How-To Guide

Washington, D.C., April 17 – As more Americans with and without disabilities are caught up in the economic consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic, people are wondering where to find answers to life-or-death questions. In this How-To Guide, the RespectAbility team has compiled clear information about several key Economic Benefits to see you through these challenging times.

This guide includes the latest information and online resources about three key topics: accessing your CARES Act payment, accessing food resources and understanding unemployment insurance. 

Leaders Need to Ensure that People with Disabilities Have Access to Online Food and Medicine Delivery

CDC: Approximately 90% of people hospitalized with COVID-19 have underlying conditions, i.e. disabilities “Allowing people with the highest risks for the Coronavirus to use SNAP, WIC and other benefits for online food deliveries will save lives”  Washington, D.C., April 15 – With the nation on lockdown for the duration of the COVID-19…

What Leaders Need to Know To Help People with Disabilities Survive

Washington, D.C., April 9 – As lawmakers continue to work around the clock during this critical time, RespectAbility acknowledges the importance of ensuring people with disabilities are fully included in life-saving efforts.

“The RespectAbility team has been very hard hit,” said the organization’s President Jennifer Laszlo Mizrahi. “Our IT consultant died last week, and our immediate past chairman has COVID-19, as do two other members of our extended team. Therefore, these issues are very personal to us and are working hard to get journalists and leaders the facts and sources they need so that policy makers and the public understand both the stakes and solutions to solving this shared crisis.”

Bernie Sanders Drops Out of Presidential Primary

Washington, D.C., April 8 – Earlier today, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders announced that he is dropping out of the 2020 Democratic Primary, leaving former Vice President Joe Biden as the presumptive Democratic nominee for President.

While neither the Biden campaign nor the Trump campaign have yet released detailed policy plans on disability issues, ahead of the Iowa Caucus Sen. Sanders rolled out a comprehensive “Fighting for Disability Rights Plan.” In the plan, Sen. Sanders promised to “incorporate disability issues into every other area of public policy” and “promote access, autonomy, inclusion and self-determination for all.” The RespectAbility Report covered the plan back in February. 

Sen. Sanders had also responded to RespectAbility’s detailed candidate questionnaire on disability issues. The questionnaire was purely for educational purposes. RespectAbility reached out to all of the major presidential campaigns on both sides of the aisle. All responses to the candidate questionnaire will be posted in full on The RespectAbility Report as they come in and will be used to produce and update nonpartisan voter guides in all 50 states. It is the hope of RespectAbility that the remaining candidates will send their responses in soon.

Stimulus Package Becomes Law – Here’s What It Means for People with Disabilities

Washington, D.C., March 27 – President Trump signed into law today the $2 trillion-dollar emergency stimulus aimed at propping up the economy during the current crisis. This law is unprecedented in its scope and is meant to help our nation respond to the COVID-19 pandemic. Even now, government agencies are going to work to implement the new law.

Millions of Americans living with disabilities are wondering what this new law means for them and whether they will see any benefit. The short answer is yes, but how far the law will go to help people with disabilities who are uniquely at-risk to the impact of the virus remains an open question.

Elected Officials Need to Hear from Constituents with Disabilities – Here’s How

Washington, D.C., March 27 – In these uncertain times, people with disabilities, their friends and their families are looking to elected officials at every level of government for answers. Often, however, people do not know how to connect to their members of Congress or how to send a message to their governor, state legislators or local officials. 

Thanks to technology, it has never been easier to reach out and make one’s voice heard. Every voice matters and leaders need to know that the disability community is an integral part of their voter base. 

New Battleground Poll Data Shows Disability Community is Large and Electorally Contested

Washington, D.C., March 19 – New polling data of the battleground states shows that the disability community is large and electorally contested, but the issues they care about most are not being sufficiently addressed.

The phone poll of 1,000 registered voters across 16 presidential and Senate battleground states was conducted by Stan Greenberg, Ph.D., and the polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research (GQRR), on behalf of the disability inclusion organization RespectAbility. The data was released on a webinar earlier today. The memocross-tab data, and PowerPoint are available to download now. The webinar recording will be available to watch with captions early next week.

Voter Guide for 717,104 South Carolinians with Disabilities

South Carolina Ranks 43rd in the Country on Jobs for People with Disabilities

Columbia, South Carolina, Feb. 24 – In the run up to the 2020 South Carolina Democratic primary, the nonpartisan disability inclusion organization RespectAbility has released its South Carolina State Voter Guide. 

According to the recently released 2019 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, 717,104 people with disabilities live in South Carolina, comprising 14.4 percent  of the total population. Research conducted in the 2018 election shows that 74 percent of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member or a close friend with disabilities. The upcoming elections and their results will have an impact on people with disabilities, so it is important to become familiar with the candidates’ positions on certain issues.

Voter Guide for 373,391 Nevadans with Disabilities

Nevada Ranks 9th in the Country on Jobs for People with Disabilities

Reno, NV, Feb. 19 – In the run up to the 2020 Nevada Democratic caucus, the nonpartisan disability organization RespectAbility has released its Nevada State Voter Guide. 

According to the recently released 2019 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, the total number of Nevadans with disabilities is 373,391 and they make up 12.5 percent of the total population. Research conducted in the 2018 election shows that 74 percent of likely voters either have a disability themselves or have a family member or a close friend with disabilities. The upcoming elections and their results will have an impact on people with disabilities, so it is important to become familiar with the candidates’ positions on certain issues.