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National Civic Summit - My Voice, My Vote Presentation
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National Civic Summit - My Voice, My Vote Presentation

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  • 1. My Voice, My Vote Helping young adults with disabilities exercise their right to vote
  • 2. My Voice, My Vote • A web-based initiative • Developed in 2008, prior to the election • Aimed at young adults with disabilities • Also aimed at educators, civic organizations, family members, and care providers
  • 3. The need • Young adults vote at a lower rate than the general population • People with disabilities vote at a lower rate than the general population • Understanding of voting laws is limited • Knowledge about voting options and accommodations is limited
  • 4. People with disabilities want to vote • People with disabilities are concerned about issues affecting themselves and their communities. • Crime • Health care • Education • Jobs • Housing
  • 5. Speaking up makes a difference • Advocates for people with disabilities share their views on voting and civic involvement.
  • 6. Most adults with disabilities can vote • Nationally, laws vary by state • In Minnesota, most adults with disabilities, including intellectual disabilities, have the right to vote. • It is important for people to know their rights
  • 7. Barriers to voting • Many are unaware that they are entitled to vote • Registering to vote can be challenging • Assistance is often required, and is not always easy to come by • Some just don’t know how to vote
  • 8. The My Voice, My Vote project • A Web-based project to increase voter participation among young adults with disabilities • Funded by a grant from the Charles and Mabel Williams Fund of the Minneapolis Foundation awarded to the Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota
  • 9. A collaborative effort • Institute on Community Integration at the University of Minnesota • Public Achievement program of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship • Partnerships Resources, Inc. • Minneapolis Public Schools • Minnesota Secretary of State’s office
  • 10. U of MN Institute on Community Integration • A federally designated University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities • We believe that all persons with developmental and other disabilities should live as valued members of local communities. • Mission is to improve the services and social supports available to individuals with disabilities and their families. The Institute carries out this mission through research, professional training, technical assistance, and publishing activities. • On the Web: http://www.ici.umn.edu
  • 11. Public Achievement program of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship • The mission of the Center for Democracy and Citizenship is to promote the theory and practice of citizenship and democracy. • The Public Achievement organizing model recognizes that people of every age have skills, talents and ideas, and that by learning to work strategically with others they can solve problems and build sustainable democratic societies. • On the Web: http://www.hhh.umn.edu/centers/cdc/ pa.html
  • 12. Partnership Resources, Inc. • Partnership Resources, Inc. (PRI) provides services to adults with developmental disabilities. PRI is among the longest standing programs of its type and provides innovative programs and opportunities for the individuals they serve. PRI currently provides services for about 220 individuals at three main locations as well as 27 community job sites. • On the Web: http://www.partnershipresources.org/
  • 13. Program elements • Workshop on civic engagement and voting • Video • Website: http://www.myvoicemyvote.org/ • Includes educational materials and links to external sites
  • 14. National and state relevance • National relevance—Help America Vote Act, 2002 • 10.9 Million Americans with Disabilities voted in 2000 • 14.7 Million Americans with Disabilities voted in 2008—Rutgers University Study • State-wide voting assistance initiative
  • 15. Background: 2006 – Activism takes off • The passage of the Help America Vote Act, along with development of adaptive, created an atmosphere in which people with disabilities could be empowered in new ways. • A 2006 project of Partnership Resources Inc., “Be Drawn to Vote,” resulted in many new voters and increased statewide activism.
  • 16. 2006: What happened • A voting rights event was co-sponsored HHH Forum, the Minnesota Secretary of State’s Office and Partnership Resources, Inc. • Assisted with filling out the voter registration forms • Demonstrated the voting equipment • Provided hands-on training
  • 17. Fast forward to 2008 • Exciting Presidential election • Increased interest and activism • Opportunity to build on earlier efforts and involve several partners to create a Web-based resource
  • 18. Voters meet the Senator-to-be
  • 19. Speaking up at the State Capital
  • 20. The video • Available on the My Voice, My Vote website and on YouTube • Let’s watch it!
  • 21. Plans • Maintain Web site • Seek additional support to keep it updated • Encourage others to use the materials and develop state-specific materials for other states
  • 22. What next? • Please share your questions and ideas! • Thanks for coming!