Activate the Power of the Disability Vote
Washington, D.C. (Vocus) September 23, 2008
Allsup, the nation's leading Social Security disability representation company, is joining with the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD), the country's largest cross-disability membership organization, in the AAPD's "Activate the Power of the Disability Vote" voter registration campaign to help combat the drastic decline in voter registration among individuals with disabilities.
"Voters will have the opportunity this November to vote for a president and members of Congress who can make a positive difference for the 50 million Americans with disabilities - if they show up," said Andrew J. Imparato, AAPD's president and CEO. "This campaign, along with AAPD's larger Disability Vote Project initiative, is critical to educate Americans with disabilities on how best to get out, vote and make a difference."
Nearly 70 percent of the nation's polling places now have accessible voting machines. "Specific locations are seeing a greater turnout of voters, and more locations are now physically accessible," Mr. Imparato said. "It's important that citizens take advantage of the opportunities, and if they find limitations--express their desire for accessibility. Each step we make advances the broader needs of our community, which includes people with disabilities, their families and their care partners."
The online campaign and "Activate the Power of the Disability Vote" resources emphasize the importance of registering to vote for 50 million Americans with disabilities. Voters will find state-by-state access to voter registration, voting by absentee ballot and other resources for getting to the polls at http://www.Allsup.com.
The number of Americans with disabilities is growing rapidly, in large part because of the aging baby boomers. At the same time, a constrained federal budget and a wave of retirements are thinning the ranks of Social Security Administration workers who review disability claims. Faced with declining resources and a disabled population that has more than doubled since 1990, the Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) system can't keep up.
"This is a critical election for individuals with disabilities," said Jim Allsup, founder, president and CEO of Allsup. "The SSDI system is bursting at the seams, with three-quarters of a million Americans experiencing delays of months--or even years--in obtaining their rightful benefits. Voters should closely examine the statements of the candidates to determine who they think will best address this enormous problem."
"Activate the Power of the Disability Vote" is a nationwide educational effort and non-partisan. Allsup and AAPD direct people with disabilities to find out more about both presidential campaigns through official campaign statements and materials, which can be found online provided by both the McCain-Palin campaign and Obama-Biden campaign.
AAPD and Allsup recently sent joint open letters to both presidential candidates urging them to raise this issue and put on the record what they plan to do to address this enormous challenge.
In the 2004 elections, the AAPD's Disability Vote Project program saw a 19 percent increase in the voting turnout of people with disabilities nationwide. In 2008, the Disability Vote Project and Allsup have set a goal to increase the registration rate of voters with disabilities and encourage stronger voter turnout.
AAPD and Allsup advocate eliminating barriers that prevent people from voting, continuous improvement in conditions for fully accessible voting and efforts to ensure voting machines are accurate and secure.
AAPD's mission is to organize the disability community to be a powerful force for change--socially politically and economically. Toward that end, AAPD is dedicated to educating policymakers, businesses and the general public about disability issues, providing membership benefits, cultivating emerging leaders, promoting mentoring and career exploration, and conducting non-partisan voter registration and voter mobilization campaigns. AAPD helps to unite the diverse community of people with disabilities, including their family, friends and supporters, and to be a national voice for change in implementing the goals of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA): equality of opportunity, full participation, independent living and economic self-sufficiency. For more information, visit AAPD's Web site at http://www.aapd.com.
Allsup offers services that support the financial well-being and health of individuals with disabilities, including assistance with Social Security disability and Medicare benefits programs. Allsup's experts have helped more than 100,000 people with disabilities nationwide obtain $1.5 billion in Social Security and Medicare payments. Allsup pre-qualifies individuals to ensure eligibility, develops an accurate factual record, and helps shepherd applicants through the disability decision process, leaving the Social Security Administration to focus on issuing disability decisions and clearing back-logged claims. For more information, log on to http://www.allsup.com.
(800) 854-1418, ext. 5065
Dan Allsup, ext. 5760