Top Ten Reasons Why A Person With Disabilities Should NOT
Register To Vote!

by Tom Ryan, California Disability Leader


10.    It validates my martyr complex.


9.      I can live like a king on $800 a month.


8.      I think the ADA goes too far.


7.      I’ve always wanted to live in a nursing home.


6.      I enjoy being a part of the last disenfranchised minority.


5.      Jerry might leave me out of next year’s telethon.


4.      I’m not allowed to use sharp pointed objects like pens and pencils.


3.      I might lose my parking spot.


2.      It’s not part of my rehab program.

1.      I would have to make a decision without the help of the Social Security Administration.


Voter apathy runs rampant through our society. Only half of the registered voters usually vote; that figure is even lower, just 30% among registered voters who have a disability.


Many people feel their vote doesn’t count for much. After all, we’re each just one person, right? (Although we personally know someone who lost in a school board race by 28 votes. 28 votes.)


BUT. Policies instituted by lawmakers have a substantial impact on people with disabilities. The disability community has a right and a self-interest in helping shape policies; government often plays a large role in the lives of people with disabilities, particularly around issues such as transportation, employment, social services – issues that affect people with disabilities every day.


Constituency groups, such as labor unions, Latino, senior and African American voters, have greater influence in government than the disability community despite having smaller numbers. The reason: They have the power to get out the vote. They take part in their civic rights and duties.


There is a direct connection between the disability community’s lack of voting power and various proposals for reductions or eliminations in vital programs. From funding for In-Home Supportive Services to assistive technology to healthcare, the independence and livelihoods of many people with disabilities are clearly linked to the decisions made by lawmakers and politicians.


There is an indisputable correlation between voter education and voter participation. As a person becomes better educated about the issues and candidates, that person is more likely to vote. Granted, some people find the voting process intimidating, particularly for people with disabilities who face physical and attitudinal barriers as they cast their vote. From inaccessible polling places and voting machines to inadequately trained poll workers, people with disabilities face a number of obstacles in the democratic process.


But it’s vital if we are to have a voice in policy and participate in the decisions that will govern our lives.

(Paraphrased from a California Foundation for Independent Living Centers Issues Brief at


ILRC knows the rules about non-partisan voter registration and can provide you with voter education materials – from information on voters’ rights to procedures, candidates and issues.


Isn’t it time you registered to vote?


Vote as if your life depended on it – because it does!