#AdvocacyMatters: Every Election is a Big Election

November 5, 2021 / #AdvocacyMatters

Any time the polls are open and ballots are being cast, it’s far too likely that somebody’s disability could prevent them from exercising their right to vote. Whether the obstacle lies in finding accessible transportation to the polls, building access issues, or being able to read and interact with the voting machines, the opportunities for disenfranchisement are alarmingly high. A society will never become truly equitable until all individuals are able to exercise the fundamental right to vote.

When polling place doors opened this past Tuesday morning and the voting machines flickered on, our team was ready. The DRO Election Day Hotline was available for all hours that the polls were open – just as it is every Election Day. While the attention – and often the turnout – for these “off year” elections doesn’t always compare, our commitment to the mission is unwavering. In any election, any Ohioan who wants to vote should be able to.

Last month we unveiled our Goals and Objectives for the coming year, and strengthening voting access for Ohioans with disabilities was identified as a continued focus of our work. We understand that – in the simplest of terms – there is unequal access to voting in Ohio. Voters living in nursing facilities or other group settings, voters who are blind and who need electronic assistance with ballot marking, and even voters who need a simple accommodation like curbside voting face remarkable hurdles in exercising their rights. Addressing and overcoming the ablest, systemic obstacles that litter the path to legislative participation is the only way to foster a truly equitable society.

These goals won’t be achieved on one random Tuesday, or in one election cycle, or even in one year of planned work. However, every step we take down this long and challenging road gets us that much closer to our ultimate goal. When it comes to equity in access to the voting process our team won’t stop picking up the phone. And when the polling place doors open again in May of 2022, we’ll be there. Because #AdvocacyMatters.

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