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Today's Voter Registration Push Includes Iowans with Disabilities

Iowans with disabilities are among those being urged to get on the rolls today as the Hawkeye State celebrates National Voter Registration Day. Credit: Steve Shepard/iStockPhoto.
Iowans with disabilities are among those being urged to get on the rolls today as the Hawkeye State celebrates National Voter Registration Day. Credit: Steve Shepard/iStockPhoto.
September 22, 2015

DES MOINES, Iowa – Today is National Voter Registration Day, and Iowans with disabilities are among those being encouraged statewide to get on the rolls for this fall's election.

Rik Shannon, project manager with Iowans with Disabilities in Action, says when it comes to elections, people with disabilities have, historically, been a disenfranchised population.

"In the 2012 election, the voter turnout rate of people with disabilities nationally was 5.7 percent lower than that of people without disabilities," he says. "We actually exceeded that a little bit here in Iowa and our gap was 6.3 percent. So we have ground to make up."

While some specific policy issues regarding support and services are among the priorities for Iowans with disabilities, Shannon says the results of recent focus groups show Iowans with disabilities are as concerned with everyday issues as everyone else.

"People with disabilities have the same passions and the same concerns and the same interests as those without," he says. "It's foreign policy. It's income inequality. It's everything that we're hearing as hot button issues in terms of the national perspective."

Voter registration drives are being held across the state today, including an event hosted by Iowans with Disabilities in Action outside the Des Moines Central Public Library.

The 2015 election will be held on Tues., Nov. 3, just six weeks from today.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - IA