#MacroSW Chat 10/18/2018: Recognizing the Power of the Disability Vote

Lavender background with a wheelchair icon on the left and a circle with "vote" written in the middle on the right. In the middle is the following text: Recognizing the Power of the Disability Vote. @VilissaThompson with Guest Expert Sarah Blahovec @Sblahov. At the bottom is the #MacoSW logo, with 10/18/2018 and 9pm Eastern and the Twitter logo

Transcript of this chat here.

As the mid-election season winds down, we must remember that every voice matters.

When we discuss politics, a key demographic is overlooked: the voices and voting power of disabled people. The disabled community is the largest minority group in the country, with 61 million adults living with a disability. With the power in numbers, it is telling and upsetting how ignored this key voting bloc is during election season.

For this #MacroSW Twitter chat, we will discuss the importance of getting the disabled vote on the minds of candidates, the barriers to voting, why disability rights is a part of the political conversation, and ways we can support disabled candidates running for office.  It is important for social workers across fields to advocate for and support disabled candidates, our issues, and how we act as better practitioners and accomplices/co-conspirators to this marginalized group.

Sarah Blahovec (@Sblahov) is our guest and she is a leader when it comes to supporting disabled candidates and getting disability issues on the consciousness of politicians running for office.

To learn more about the connection voting and the disability community, review the following articles and statistics:

Disability Impacts ALL of Us Infographic – CDC

A Political Profile of Disabled Americans

Kruse/Schur 2012 Report on People with Disabilities and Voting: key statistic is that over 30% of voters with disabilities experienced at least one difficulty in casting their ballot, as compared to only 8.4% of voters without disabilities.

NCIL’s Voting Rights Resources: information and resources for the disability community on understanding their voting rights and civic engagement in the disability community

Our #MacroSW Partner facilitating the chat is Vilissa Thompson (@VilissaThompson).

Questions we’ll be discussing during the chat:

Q1: Why is it important for disability issues to be a part of the conversation during election seasons? #MacroSW

Q2: How can political candidates better educate themselves on the connection between disability and politics? How can they better engage disabled voters? #MacroSW

Q3: How does barriers to voting impact the ability of disabled people to have their voices heard as an important voting bloc? #MacroSW

Q4: How can social workers better support candidates with disabilities running for office? #MacroSW

Q5: What can social workers do to work as co-conspirators to disabled candidates and the collective community regarding political issues that pertains to us? #MacroSW

Sarah B

Sarah Blahovec is the Disability Vote Organizer for the National Council on Independent Living, where she works on reducing barriers and engaging people with disabilities across the civic engagement spectrum, including in voting and running for office. She is an activist working to bring together the disability and chronic illness communities together on intersecting issues like health care and pain management practices. Sarah is also a founding board member and Access and Inclusion Chair of New Leaders Council of Virginia, which trains and empowers progressive, diverse Millennials throughout the Commonwealth.


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