Harrisburg, PA, May 3 – Ahead of the upcoming primary election, the nonpartisan disability rights nonprofit RespectAbility has released its latest Pennsylvania Disability Voter Guide. According to the 2021 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are approximately 1.8 million people living in Pennsylvania with some form of disability. The disability community makes up 14.5 percent of the state’s population.
Nationwide, one-in-five Americans has a disability, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. People with disabilities are America’s largest minority group. It is also the only one that, due to accident, aging or illness, anyone can join at any time.
RespectAbility has asked Democratic and Republican candidates the same key questions about issues affecting people with disabilities, including employment, education, and accessibility. RespectAbility has sent multiple emails and placed many phone calls to the campaigns in order to solicit responses to the questionnaire. Below you can read responses from candidates on the ballot in Pennsylvania who have already taken the time to address the concerns of voters with disabilities.
“The disability community is unique,” said Philip Kahn-Pauli, associate editor of The RespectAbility Report. “It is the only minority group that anyone can join at any time due to illness, injury, or aging. What that means is that there are people with disabilities in every state, and that the community’s interests intersect with so many issues, including race, gender, poverty, criminal justice, and inequality.”
According to researchers at Rutgers University, 17.7 million voters with disabilities cast their ballots in the 2020 election and 14.3 million citizens with disabilities voted in 2018. These voters will be crucial and can make the difference between a winning or a losing campaign.
For more information about how to register to vote, how to cast your ballot or to get assistance in voting, please visit the state of Pennsylvania’s website. Pennsylvanians can download the mail-in or absentee form and send it to their county election board, or use the online portal to request a mail-in or an absentee ballot. Alternatively, Pennsylvania residents can register to vote via the online voter registration system.
RespectAbility is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that fights stigmas and advances opportunities so people with disabilities can fully participate in all aspects of community. RespectAbility does not rate or endorse candidates. View more coverage of 2022 candidates.