DemocracyNYC is focused on reducing barriers to the ballot box for all New York City voters, especially for populations that have been historically disenfranchised. In 2019, with the crucial support of The New York Community Trust, DemocracyNYC launched efforts to advocate for increased access to voting for people with disabilities in the 2020 calendar year. This project enabled four independent living centers, along with DemocracyNYC, to conduct crucial outreach to voters with disabilities in a momentous year for elections and democracy.
While all eyes were on the 2020 presidential election, organizers worked to ensure that NYC had accessible elections for 2020 and beyond through community events, poll site surveys, text and phone banks and more. Through this effort DemocracyNYC, Center for the Independence of the Disabled (CIDNY), Brooklyn Center for Independence (BCID), Bronx Independent Living Services (BILS), and Harlem Independent Living Center (HILC) registered 752 people with disabilities to vote, hosted 63 community events on the importance of voting for the disability community, launched the first ever voter guide with American Sign Language interpretation with the Campaign Finance Board, surveyed 72 poll sites for physical access and advocated for increased access to voting for people with disabilities on the state and local level.
Furthermore, organizers launched a robust digital outreach program to get the word out to constituents about pandemic resources and voting safely. With eyes on the future, crucial election outreach continues. Advocacy groups, including those that participated in this grant, continue their work engaging people with disabilities with a focus on topics like Ranked Choice Voting (RCV) and why local elections are important. To learn more about RCV and the Ballot Marking Device, watch this Ranked Choice Voting webinar from our partners at the Campaign Finance Board.
For further information and disability voting resources please go to the Mayor's Office for People with Disabilities' resource page.