Over 35 million Americans with disabilities are eligible to vote, but only 15 million cast ballots, according to advocacy group Disability Rights California. About 20 million aren’t voting, which could have a big impact on who gets elected and on policies that affect citizens with disabilities.
Every vote counts.
May 21 is the deadline to register. The vote by mail deadline falls on May 29.
June 5 is Primary Day for voters in the state.
Voting is your chance to tell elected officials what issues and projects matter to you. State and federal laws protect citizens with disabilities’ right to vote. You have the right to vote in an accessible place.
Every precinct must have at least one voting machine or system that is accessible to voters with disabilities, including blind or low vision voters.
Election officials and poll workers will be trained to help voters with disabilities, as required by the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).
Where to get a voter registration form:
The Disability Action Center was represented at the 2018 Advocacy Day hosted by the California Collaborative for Long Term Services and Supports on April 23.
Systems Change Advocates Talmadge House, Michael Brady and Dan Murphy represented DAC at the daylong event, which included morning presentations at the Sheraton Grand Hotel’s Magnolia Room in Sacramento and was followed by personal visits to state assembly and senators’ offices to meet with staff inside the capitol building.
CCLTSS is seeking investments in long term services and supports including $3 million in one-time funds to collect and analyze LTSS needs of Californians.
Their IHSS budget proposal includes $300 million ongoing, to officially rescind
the 7 percent service hour cut now backfilled by the MCO tax, which is uncertain to continue.
Advocates also sought to increase economic security for senior nutrition programs and to raise SSI/SSP payments by $100 per recipient.
Over 150 advocates throughout the state attended Advocacy Day 2018.
DAC-Redding joined consumer Steve Harrasser and city engineering staff on April 17 for a tour of Anderson River Park’s parking spaces, seeking to improve ADA access for the public. Harrasser, with a design/planning background, took slope measurements of the parking spaces by the fishing access entrance, among other services, during the tour. City staff will explore adding interim upgrades. Securing a grant to provide long term ADA improvements at the site are among the goals DAC will examine. Local DAC staff also aims to establish an ADA Transition Committee for Redding to meet monthly. The group will focus on ADA-related issues in Shasta County and its other service areas.
One of Disability Action Center’s goals is to improve outreach efforts to the Native American community in its service areas.
DAC staff and management attended the Native American Training and Technical Assistance conference for families, people and tribal members with disabilities May 8 at Win-River Casino in Redding.
“It is vital that we become more diverse and expand our outreach to the Native American community,” said Carolyn Nava, who answered questions and provided information to the public at DAC’s table during the daylong event.
Substantive presentations by regional centers like Far Northern, In Home Support Services (IHSS), labor unions like SEIU, and disability rights advocates focusing on autism and other developmental disabilities highlighted the event.
Pam Thomason, a highly respected senior low vision care specialist and one of the stars of Disability Action Center, has decided to retire and move on to the next chapter in her life.
“Her many, many OIB consumers are going to miss her terribly, as will all of us,” said DAC executive director Evan LeVang. “Pam has worked very hard for many years and I know that her granddaughters and her family & friends will be very happy to spend more time with her.”
Thomason will be honored at the monthly DAC staff meeting May 30 in Redding.
She has over 20 years of experience in her field, making many lasting friendships among her professional contacts.
In the past month alone, Thomason said she has serviced over 100 consumers with her consistent commitment to quality, many through in-home visits that can lead to some long drives.
What has been her successful philosophy?
“I just try to be myself: caring and compassionate, along with a sense of humor,” she said. “When I leave their home, I feel like they are a friend. I am going to miss the people. It’s been very rewarding to help the seniors who have been isolated because of their lack of vision.”
Thomason also credited the DAC staff and management for their support through the years.
“Pam has consistently operated at an elite level in terms of both quantity and quality,” LeVang added. “I would say that Pam’s most valuable skill is her ability to stay consistent: to provide the highest quality service to her consumers, and to be a steady, trustworthy and productive team member when things are going well … and when things aren’t going so well. I would like to take thiSs opportunity to thank Pam, from the bottom of my heart, for her time with us at DAC. I wish her all the happiness and joy she can possibly have in her retirement.”
The Rockets & Robots Club mission is to develop and encourage the natural ability of children on the autism spectrum for the purposes of preparing them for a science-related career and enhancing their enjoyment of life in an environment that is sensitive to their needs. The Rockets & Robots club will focus on their strengths and attempt to develop them in a fun and interesting way.
The R&R club leader, Russ Rudin, is an adult on the autism spectrum that was one of the lead designers of the current Sidewinder missile and co-designer of the RITA telemedicine robot. Russ made his first robot out of an old dishwasher when he was 10. You can find him most days hunched-over his latest project with a soldering iron in one hand and hot-glue gun in the other!
Contact: Russ Rudin, PhD – R&R Club Director