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Rockford sees new push to get disability community to the polls

There are a number of resources for people with disabilities at voting centers. But often times, election officials say those aren’t used. Now, two groups have teamed up to make sure Rockford’s disability community isn’t just registered to vote, but can cast their ballot with ease.

"I think it’s important that the disability community let their voice be heard when it comes to voting, and we as an organization are going to address that by helping people get registered," RAMP advocacy and education coordinator Eric Brown said.

RAMP’s mission is to advocate for people with disabilities. And now, it’s adding to that mission by certifying two of it’s staff members as deputy registrars.

"If we’re already meeting a lot of people in the community, we can ask them during our intakes if they are registered to vote, if they say yes, that’s great, if they say no, we can register them on the spot," Brown said.  

But it’s not just about voter registration, Rockford’s Board of Election Director Stacey Bixby says this partnership with RAMP is also a great way to remind the community about all of the tools available for people with disabilities. 

"To make it as easy as possible for people to come to the actually polling place on election day," Bixby said.

Each polling place has resources to help people depending on their disability, whether  you can’t see, hear, write or speak. 

"All this equipment is out on the table, so a person who walks in can see it," Bixby said.

Working to make the voting experience one that everyone can take part in, regardless of a disability.

"There are people that don’t want to vote by mail, they want to vote on election day. Decisions are being made by people without disabilities that impact people with disabilities, so we really need to let our voices be heard," Brown said.

July 26th also marks the 28th anniversary of when the Americans with Disabilities Act was signed into law. 
 

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