PNS Daily Newscast - January 17, 2020 

Govt. Accountability Office rules that Trump administration violated federal law on aid to Ukraine; and racial disparities in health care.

2020Talks - January 17, 2020 

Just a couple weeks out from the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, four Senators are being pulled off the campaign trail for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

Elevating Voice of Voters with Disabilities

Voter turnout among individuals with disabilities is typically lower than for those who do not have a disability. (justgrimes/Flickr)
Voter turnout among individuals with disabilities is typically lower than for those who do not have a disability. (justgrimes/Flickr)
July 17, 2017

LINCOLN, Neb. -- People with disabilities represent nearly one-sixth of the total electorate in the United States, and during National Disability Voter Registration Week, these folks are encouraged to ensure their voices are heard.

Kathy Hoell, executive director at the Nebraska Statewide Independent Living Council, said while it is critical that all eligible Nebraskans are registered to vote - including those with disabilities - it's also crucial that they follow through and cast a ballot on Election Day.

She said voters should be informed on the issues impacting those with disabilities.

"Party has not necessarily ever gotten us anywhere,” Hoell said. "But it's the issues that we care about, the people and how they can live and survive, those are the things that make a difference."

She noted that while access to the polls has improved for people with disabilities, there are persistent barriers - including transportation.

"If you live in Omaha and Lincoln, it's better but it's not as good as it could be. Then each poll has to have the accessible machine,” she said. "But if they don't know for sure if you're going to come to the poll, they might or might not set it up."

Zach Baldwin, director of outreach at the American Association of People with Disabilities, said amplifying the voice of those with disabilities should be important for all Americans because they are a large part of the community.

"There are people with disabilities among communities of color, all different genders, sexual orientations,” Baldwin said. “It's also a community that anybody can join at any time. So it really is in everybody's interest to have a disability community that's able to fully participate in society. "

According to the latest data, national voter turnout among individuals with disabilities was 56 percent in 2012 - about six percent less than for those who do not have a disability. And if the rate was the same, almost 10 million more votes would be cast in each election.

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - NE