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Did you know…?
• 30% of eligible Americans are not registered to vote • In 2008, voter registration rate of people w/ disabilities was 3.3% lower than that of people w/out disabilities • Voter turnout rate of people w/ disabilities was 7.2% lower than people w/out disabilities • Only 46.1% of people w/ cognitive impairments voted compared with 64.5% of people w/out a disability – a gap of 18.4%, or a 28.5% lower rate of turnout
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Why The Arc?
Breadth—700+ chapters Depth—49 states, DC History—60+ years Mission—people w/ I/DD, families, across lifespan
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We’ve Got the Power! 4 Components
1. 2. 3. 4. Voter Registration Voter Education Candidate Education Voter Mobilization

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Voter Registration
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Why don’t people vote?
• • • • • • • Lack of knowledge about choices Unsure about the voting process Forgot to register Medical reasons Away from the area My vote won’t count Don’t “do” politics

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What do Voters Want?
• • • • • Reasons why to vote from a peer perspective Help with or training about how to vote Information about what issues on the ballot Information about choosing a party Information on which offices up for election are all about

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Why Register People to Vote
1. Elected officials know who votes 2. Clout for The Arc 3. Power for the disability community

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Voter Registration— Getting Ready
• • • • •
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Make a Plan Get Buy-In Publicize Activities Educate Voters Identify Partners

The Mechanics— Registering to Vote
• In-person
• • •

At board of elections Fill out registration (can be with assistance) Fill out registration & mail to local board of elections
http://thearc.www.capwiz.com/election/register_vote/

• By mail
• Online • Know deadlines for registration
• Check with local board of elections
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Issues to Consider
• Eligibility
• Age—18 years old, or will be 18 on election day • People with I/DD—guardianship issues

• Current registration status
• Already registered? Check at ww.nonprofitvote.org • New voter registration?

• Changes in district
• Moved since last election?

• Plans for in-person vs. absentee/early voting
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Registering People to Vote
• Focus on the month before the Deadline • Voters who register nearer the election more likely to vote • Plan to have most active voter registration in few weeks before your state’s deadline • Use time to promote voter registration in chapter communications and signage in your office/program areas
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Voter Education

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What do voters need to know?
• • • • • Knowledge of the voting process Confidence about casting a ballot Urgency & importance Issues that will impact them Where candidates stand on issues

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Voting Process
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Registration Timing Polling Place Locations How to get there How to cast ballot

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Confidence in voting
• • • • Accessibility Communications w/ Poll Workers Assistance w/ voting machines Practice on different types?

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Urgency & Importance
2000 PRESIDENTIAL POPULAR VOTE SUMMARY FOR ALL CANDIDATES (Updated 12/2001)
Candidate (Party Label) Al Gore (Democrat) George W. Bush (Republican) Popular Vote 50,999,897 50,456,002 % of Popular Vote 48.38% 47.87%

Ralph Nader (Green)

2,882,955

2.74%

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Urgency & Importance
• • •

IMPORTANT TO REPEAT… 30% of eligible Americans are not registered to vote In 2008, voter registration rate of people w/ disabilities was 3.3% lower than that of people w/out disabilities Voter turnout rate of people w/ disabilities was 7.2% lower than people w/out disabilities Only 46.1% of people w/ cognitive impairments voted compared with 64.5% of people w/out a disability – a gap of 18.4%, or a 28.5% lower rate of turnout

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Issues Impacting Constituents
• Federal Level— Medicaid Vocational Training & Education Family Supports State Level— Medicaid Waiting Lists Education Funding Local Level— School District Funding Local Transit Recreation Options

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Candidate Stances on Issues
• While we don’t endorse candidates, we want to elect those who will support our critical issues • Don’t know where candidates stand on issues important to our constituency? ASK THEM!
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Candidate Education
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Candidates Need to Know…
• What is important about our constituency? • What issues are important to our voters? • What are candidates going to be asked to do if they are elected? • Why our constituency matters now, and after the election
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Connecting with Candidates
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Sponsor a Candidate Forum Invite a Candidate to an Event Do Candidate Survey/Questionnaire Share Policy Ideas (“Don’t Cut Our Lifeline!”) Attend Candidate Events Encourage Advocates to be Poll Workers

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Candidate Forums
• Co-sponsor a candidate forum with other nonprofits • Advertise a forum sponsored by others • Hold a debate watching party

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Candidate Surveys
1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Cover broad range of issues Clear and unbiased questions Distribute to every candidate in the race Give reasonable time period to respond If no response, indicate “Did Not Respond”. Do not leave them out of printed responses, or fill in their issue positions from external sources. 6. Promote their answers to all constituents and partners.
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Voter Mobilization
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Get Out the Vote-What is it?
Efforts on or just before Election Day to help people get to the polls

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Get Out the Vote (GOTV)!

If people don’t show up and vote, none of this matters!
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Get Out the Vote
• • • • Make it personal Give voters the help they need Turn up the (nonpartisan) volume What’s the message? “WE’VE GOT THE POWER! VOTE IN 2012!”
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GOTV-Early Voting
• Early voting is gaining popularity – 1 in 3 voters vote early • Let chapter members know about opportunity to vote early – how and where to do it • Check your state’s rules on early or absentee voting
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GOTV-You Can Help!
• Promote
• • Why voting is important Do it electronically, in print, via signage

• Logistics
• •
• • •
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Help people register Assist in getting people to the polls
Educate voters about how to register Educate about the issues Work with other community groups

• Process • Partner

GOTV-Sample Activities
• • • • • Hold a mock election Teach voting vocabulary words Hold a debate watching or voting results party Hold a Trick or Vote event Create simple handouts with information on:
• • • •
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what races are on the ballot how to vote polling place locations ballot initiatives

Suggested Timeline of Activities
Month 1 • articles in newsletters, promotion via social media & website • build relationships with local community groups doing voter promotion Month 2 • register people to vote via local events or at program locations • hold debate viewing parties for presidential debates • register people to vote on Sept. 25 (Nat’l Voter Registration Day) Month 3 • October, 2012—Disability Employment Month Month 4 • November 6, 2012—GOTV!
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Dates to Remember
• September 25, 2012— National Voter Registration Day • November 6, 2012— Election Day

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Additional Resources
• The Arc— www.thearc.org (stay tuned!) • Nonprofit Vote – www.nonprofitvote.org • Project VOTE— www.sabeusa.or/govoter
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More Info
Dee Dee Eberle Director, Chapter Organizing & Advocacy eberle@thearc.org 202-534-3726

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Continue the discussion through our FORUMS! You will receive an email shortly with a link to our discussion board. The PowerPoint and recording will also be provided in this email. Email Phuong (pnguyen@autismnow.org ) if you experience any issues.
Website: www.autismnow.org Information & Referral Call Center: 1-855-828-8476 Next Webinar: Tuesday, August 7, 2012, 2:00-3:00 PM, EDT Sex and Relationships: How Do I Figure This Out?

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