Organizer's Forum

Mobilizing the Disability Vote: August 18, 2015

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Organizer’s Forum: Tuesday, August 18th – Topic: Mobilizing the Disability Vote

TUESDAY, August 18th, 1-2 pm Eastern time, 12-1 Central time, 11-12 Mountain time, 10-11 am Pacific time

  • Call in number: 1-860-970-0300
  • Code: 193134#

Let’s talk about how to get people with disabilities energized to vote, and how to have an impact on elections! A year out from the next presidential election, how can we plan to organize our communities, educate people about voting, and increase voter turnout among people with disabilities? Join us to learn from experienced organizers in the disability community and from organizers in other movements!

Speakers

  • Michelle Bishop, National Disability Rights Network
  • Derek Wetherell, Paraquad

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The Organizing Workgroup of the National Disability Leadership Alliance hosts these calls the third Tuesday of every month as a resource for disability organizers, in an effort toward building the organizing capacity of the disability community across the country. They generally follow the format of a Welcome followed by 2-3 experts in a given area speaking for a few minutes on their experiences, advice and challenges. The calls include a 20-30 minute question and answer period.

Because we want to maximize the generously donated CART services, we will begin the call promptly at 1pm and end the call promptly at 2pm (eastern time). A few other reminders about call etiquette:

  • Speak one at a time
  • Speak slowly and as clearly as possible

Co-Chairs, National Organizing Workgroup

CART: The call will have real-time captioning (CART)! The website where you will be able to view the captioning is https://2020captioning.1capapp.com. Username: forum. Password: forum. Thank you to the National Disability Leadership Alliance for sponsoring the captioning of this call.

** If you need additional accommodations to participate in the call, please let us know as soon as possible.

MARK YOUR CALENDARS! The Organizer’s Forum has a call on the 3rd Tuesday of each month, 1-2 pm EST (10-11 am PST).

NOTE: We have a listserv for discussion on these issues. It’s organizersforum@yahoogroups.com; please go to: http://groups.yahoo.com/group/organizersforum/ and click “Join this group!” We also have our separate announcement-only listserv to allow everyone to easily get notices about the Organizer’s Forum, called disabilityorganizing@googlegroups.com. Please email us to be added.

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Background

To ask questions via CART: Sign-in to the Chat function on the right side of the transcript and type your question. One of the call facilitators will read out any questions posted there.

  • Say your name before each time you speak

So you can mark your calendars now, Organizer’s Forums are held on the 3rd Tuesday of every month. If you have suggestions for call topics or presenters for upcoming topics, please email them to jlehman7@gmail.com or dcoleman@cdrnys.org.

Because we want to maximize the generously donated CART services, we will begin the call promptly at 1pm and end the call promptly at 2pm (eastern time).

Looking forward to talking with you all!

Jessica Lehman and Diane Coleman

Important Documents Pertaining to Mobilizing the Disability Vote

2015 NCIL Voting Task Force GOTV Manual in PDF format:
http://www.disabilityleadership.org/files/2015NCIL-Voting-Task-Force-GOTVManual.pdf

2015 NCIL Voting Task Force GOTV Manual in Word Doc format:
http://www.disabilityleadership.org/files/2015NCIL-Voting-Task-Force-GOTVManual.docx

REV UP – Vote Guide for Printing:
http://www.disabilityleadership.org/files/REVUP-vote-guide-print.pdf

REV UP – PLEDGE TO VOTE:
http://www.disabilityleadership.org/files/REVUP-Pledge.pdf

REV UP – PLEDGE ON 2 PAGES:
http://www.disabilityleadership.org/files/REVUP-Pledge2.pdf

Date: August 18, 2015

Event: Organizer’s Forum

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>>CART PROVIDER: Dialing 712-832-8310 now and entering passcode: 125175 now.

>>CART PROVIDER: On standby.

>> [speaker off mic]

>> Fred Hess.

>> Pete.

>> Michelle Bishop.  [beep]

>> Oh people are already —

>> Pat.

>> Diane Coleman.

>> We need to go to here.

>> Kathleen.

>> Hello.

>> Yeah you’re not alone this are other people here.  We are waiting on the announcer or whoever.

>> Michelle with disability network.

>> George Caster.

>> Michelle, glad you could make it.

>>Michelle: Thanks.

>> Steve.

>> Center for Disability Rights in Rochester.

>> Hey how are you doing?

>> Mark, are you on the line?

>> Mark: Can you hear me now?

>> Yes.  I don’t know if we are on mute or not.  (microphone feedback)

>> Hello.  (sounds like telephone ringing)

>> Hello.  Hello.

>> Hello?

>> I discovered that mute is star 6 star.

>> What was that about 11:15?  (several people talking at the same time)

>> Hi everyone this is Jessica.

>>Jessica: How is everybody doing?

>> Doing good.

>> Good, I’m having difficulty kind of hearing everybody.  (microphone feedback)

>> Hi this is Jennifer —

>>Jessica: I apologize for being a couple minutes late.  Having a couple technical issues with our call this morning but hopefully things will go smoothly.  I’ll just give people another minute or so to join and then we’ll get started.  Is Diane Coleman on the call?

>> Diane: Yeah I’m here.

>>Jessica: Oh great.  Are you on the chat today Diane?

>> Diane: Yes I am.

>>Jessica: Do we have Derek and Michelle on?

>>Derek: Derek here.

>>Michelle: Yes, Michelle.  You might want to let people know that muting and unmuting are done with star 6 star, I just figured it out (echoing)

>>Jessica: Thank you for telling people that.  One of our problems is I can usually mute everyone and I don’t think I can do that on the call today unfortunately.  But if everybody is not speaking —

>>Jessica: All right.  Okay.  Well let’s go ahead and get started.  Thanks for those that are muted.  Hopefully we will be okay without our usual controls.  So my name is Jessica and I work for Senior Disability Action in California.  Welcome to the Organizer’s Forum, which is a national call designed to support community organizing in the disability rights movement and various disability communities around the country.  For those that are joining for the first time, I’ll tell you a little bit about it.  This is a project of National Disability Leadership Alliance which is a coalition of national disability organizations.  (microphone feedback) I Co-Chair in this project is Diane.  Diane, do you want to introduce yourself?

>> Hi I’m Diane, with Not Dead Yet, one of 15 organizations run by people with disabilities, serve on the steering community of National Disability Leadership Alliance.  So compared to many other disability groups that all 15 member groups of the steering community are run by people with disabilities ourselves.

>>Jessica: And to keep this call accessible we do have captioning and there is a chat window on that website.  The information for the, for the website should be in the e-mail you got about this call and so if you’d like to participate that way um Diane is on, in that chat and so if you prefer to type in questions or comments rather than saying them, we open it up to dialogue, Diane can read those out on the call.  So the Organizer’s Forum, I mentioned is about supporting community organizing.  So we is a different topic every month, always the third Tuesday of the month at the same time.  We are always looking for new topics, so let us know if you have ideas.  We recognize one hour is not enough time to get — I’m going to remind people to hit star 6 if you are not talking.  (background noise)

>>Michelle: It is star 6 star, sorry.

>>Jessica: I think it is just star 6 actually.

>>Michelle: No it is star 6 star.

>>Jessica: Okay.  So in addition to the calls we have a couple other ways for all of us to participate and continue the dialogue.  We do have a FaceBook page organizers forum.  If you haven’t gone to that page please do that, click like, and make any comments there.  Then we also have a Yahoo group it is really easy to join go to Yahoo Groups.com, type organizers forum, not a lot of traffic there.  [beep] We do invite people on this call, or after the call go on the FaceBook page or the Yahoo group, make a quick note about something that stood out to you or a question you have or another idea you may have that didn’t come up so we are able to share that a little more widely.  Let’s see, am I missing anything Diane?  I think that’s the basics.  You know what I forgot, this is really important, I’m sorry that um we have a different number, a call-in number today, I’m not able to mute everyone the way I normally can.  So this is even more important than usual, please do not put us on hold.  We’ve had trouble with hold music in the past or background conversations.  If you need to step away just hang up, you can always call right back in.

And please do keep your phone muted for as much as of the call as possible except when we’re talking.  So on that note, so 9 minutes past the hour, let’s jump into our topic of today, which is voting, thanks for [Name?] for the great idea.  We are a little more than a year out from 2016 Presidential elections and of course there is a lot of interest in getting the candidates talking about disability issues.  All different kinds of issues.  Plus I think this year and every year a lot of us in communities may have valid initiatives or local candidates and we want to make sure that people with disabilities are getting out to the polls and having a voice.  So we have two designated speakers today to talk about it and I know there’s a lot of people on the call with a lot of experience in this issue of mobilizing people with disabilities to vote and so we’re looking forward to a lot of good dialogue with everyone.  Our key speakers, we have Derek Wetherell, with Paraquad in St. Louis, supports the coalition for truth in independence, which is a coalition of neighborhood based civil rights group with a disability lens.  He also advices People First of St. Louis, works on antibias placing and oversees Get Out and Vote TV campaign.  We also have Michelle Bishop from National Disability Leadership Alliance network and she is the disability advocacy specialist, she has been with NDRN since 2013 and provides training and technical assistance to the advocacy network around the country regarding voting rights and access for voting with disabilities.  So on that note I’m going to turn it over to Michelle to get us started.

>>Michelle: Hi everyone, good afternoon and thank you so much for joining us.  Can everyone hear me okay?  I’m hoping, I just took myself off mute.  I work with NDRN National Disability Rights Network.  Because I am who I am and I work for who I work for, the very first thing you are going to get from me is a complete shameless plug for the network.  It is a national membership for P & A’s if you are not familiar with them there is a P & A in each of the 50 states, district of Columbia, Puerto Rico, all the 50 US territories, it might be called protection advocacy, or services or disability rights such as disability rights California or disability rights Ohio.  So there is a P & A in your state, much like centers for independence living they are established by Congress to protect rights of people with disabilities.  They focus on providing legal advocacy services, they are the largest provider in the United States, each P & A has a mandate under health America vote act to run what we call POVO Protection Advocacy for Voter Access Program, not only is there a P & A in your state or territory, they are actively working on the disability vote.  If you are not with your P & A they could make a fantastic partner in doing this kind of work for you, please feel free to contact me.  Would be happy to give you my contact information if you would like to build a relationship there or anything I can do to act.  Now completely shameless plug out of the way, why are we talking today about the disability vote?  I’ve been doing this work for over ten years now and in so much of the work that I do I hear us talk about the vote in terms of personal empowerment.  I think there is a lot to be said for that much I think that working in the disability rights community if we’re not concerned about personal empowerment with persons with disabilities who experience disfranchisement, I think the vote is a tool for personal empowerment.  Going and having your say and wilding your voice in the political process should feel empowering.  I think there is a lot to be said for that.  I think the reason this call is important today is because empowerment and power are not the same thing.  Well we are very good talking about empowerment I don’t know we have traditionally as disability rights civil rights movement been that successful in talking about power.

There are two stories that come to mind in the work I’ve done over the years around disability vote that I think illustrate this.  I’m a Missourian by nature.  These stories come from on the ground grassroots disability work I was doing in Missouri at the time.  The first was after health American vote Act passed when states and local election authorities were required to implement new voting technology that expands access to the vote for all voters.  We actually came in contact with a local election authority county clerk who told us that they wanted to put the accessible voting equipment, touch screen machines in the toilet where they belonged.  This was said openly to us.  The second story, something that’s stayed with me all this time years later um, some of the folks that were in our coalition were talking to a state legislator about an issue that was really important to the disability community, given it was Missouri probably related to health care.

And that legislator said I’m going to vote however my constituents want me to vote around this issue and the, some of the folks who worked at the Center for Independent Living was there, some of the participants that live in the district were there, we need you to vote this way on issues of recommendations, vote went on down, things didn’t go in favor of disability community.  This particular legislator did not vote the way the disability community would have needed.  When they went back to the legislator and said what happened?  The legislator said to them directly, I voted how my constituents wanted me to.  You’re not my constituents.  This was an organization and participants located in the home District of that legislator who still felt very strongly these people were not their constituents.  That was one of the most important lessons I think I ever learned in doing this work.  I hope when you hear those stories that you are horrified that anyone would say this to us.  It is horrifying that anyone would say this to us, these stories are no more than ten years old, they’ve been since passage of American health Act.  I think, for two reasons, legislators and election authorities can say things like this to us and get away with it.  Because there were no repercussions and we had no recourse for dealing with that.  the second reason I hope you’re horrified when you hear those kinds of stories the legislator who looks in the eye and says you are not my constituents was right.  He was correct.  Being a citizen doesn’t make you a constituent, being of voting age doesn’t make you a constituent, living in the District if you want.  What makes you a constituent is your vote.  People with disabilities didn’t turn out for the polls, people with disabilities didn’t give that legislator that job, people with disabilities weren’t going to take his job away.  They were not the people he was accountable to be responsible they were not participating in the system, they were not playing the game.  The vote is primary a system of reward and punishment, if you meet the needs you get to keep your job, if you don’t meet the needs you are supposed to lose your job.  That’s how this works.  That’s power, the vote isn’t necessarily a tool of personal empowerment.  The vote is a social act it is a systemic act.  When we vote together we yield power.  In the disability community we have to start talking about power and why we don’t have enough of it to protect the gains we have made and push the bar even further.  We are not welding the potential power we have.  I think it is so important we start talking about the disability vote on a national level and have a conversation about how we can be doing this kind of work in every state and how we can be working together to get this done because powerful disability voting block is about building power to move the disability civil rights movement forward.

I can’t stress enough that that’s really what it comes down to and so I hope everyone is on the phone today thinking about power and thinking about how we can use the vote to propyl the parental rights of people with disabilities forward in the political process.  My roots are in independent living, been in disability rights for a long time and at every meeting, at every conference I hear at least one person say nothing about us without us.

And that’s true and that’s what’s right.  But no one has to respect nothing about us without us unless we make them.  They can do anything without us if we’re not going to wield the potential power that we have by participating in the process.  That’s why I think the vote is so important.  With that I’m going to pass it off to Derek, I know he has amazing stuff to talk about today I think will be really useful for everyone on the phone.  Please feel free to ask me any questions, I’ll be happy to talk to you about building bridges around different elements of disability community and how we can work together on building the disability vote.  With that Derek, please take it away.

>>Derek: All right.  How is everyone doing?  So start with a story of kind of how I, the first time I ever kind of did a campaign, which was actually last year.  So I’ve been at Paraquad for um a little over a year now and last year we were doing some more, we were going through a little bit of a transition phase so um actually came into like [speaker off mic] work by accident.  It just kind of popped up like this needs to happen.  On the TV campaign in the past, but not a whole lot.  So what ended up happening, about three months before election day came around um had a list of, you know, of 4,000 votes to call from our show.  So luckily really great kind of institutional knowledge about voting and voter mobilization so that was a help but the things that we were able to do in this short amount of time was we were able to kind of get an online campaign going that was really fun to plug into the media, getting folks to like take pictures of why they vote.  We reached um a few thousand folks through that.  We had a meet and greet to folks had a chance to interface directly with the voters in their Districts.  We were able to have a phone bank that reach almost that entire list.  We hit about 4500 voters with focus of course on infrequent voters who we were able to contact three times with calls and a fourth time with a mailer.  Then we were able to do a number of voter rights training with folks.

So we were able to get a lot accomplished, but some things I’ve learned through that, this is why I kind of want to run through maybe hectic first time doing this.  So I think that there’s probably a few folks at least on the call who are, might be doing this for the first time.  May have had to access institutional kind of knowledge that I had that Michelle was actually a part of building, so thank you.  So some things that I learned, we’ll start with kind of the basic stuff, you know, having a time line and being able to plan with more than like three months.  This is something that I’ve noticed with some organizations in our area with the rich history that we have.  TV is kind of like an afterthought, just part that time of the year again when we start talking to folks about voting and maybe invite folks out to some events we’re having that talk about the importance of voting.

And really there is a lot of possibilities through, during Get Out and Vote work, but you have to be mindful of that, a time line Web into primary election and kind of what needs to be done at different intervals throughout that.  And what events do you have going on regularly with your organization.  So we were able to kick off, we will be able to kick off things next year with a kind of recap and orientation for this past and organization for year in [speaker off mic]

so being able to take advantage of things like that.  So time lines are important.  Phone calls.  Personal, the more personal the contact the better.  We really emphasize phone calls here because it is very acceptable and you can do it with low budget, regardless of your budget.  We, last year, worked through a paper link so you can always, calls are really awesome and much more effective than mailers or just the social media stuff, although you should have those things too.

With [speaker off mic] that you are developing a message that ties to maybe — in your area.  That was really effective last year, you can’t just say like oh power to go out and vote.  I think folks are really compelled to vote or maybe they feel they are angry maybe, kind of that fire [speaker off mic]

.  Kind of so maybe less like obvious things like that.  Everyone so really want to take time to do — the potential of TV and really intentional and help build your base for action.  I know a neighborhood group, we were able to really build up those groups by being really kind of targeted in how we were to be.  We set goals, not just like for the direct TV campaign, folks that launch or mailers and [speaker off mic] so also really looking at where developed group, are we talking [beep] to groups in that area.  Who is showing up, folks to volunteer.  So we were really intentional about kind of finding out

the effectiveness of Get Out to Vote, how is this going to build our basis, to build our movement here in St. Louis.  Then I heard from folks too early on, as like developing our time line um really take an inventory of how your organization might be contacting, coming into contact with individuals already cuz that’s something that we did a little bit late last year, would of been really helpful to do earlier.  And so it is kind of like don’t want to be do you believing your work.  If you already have, I know I work on, we have folks coming here all the time.  Which is kind of attitude there and really having a good conversation with them about voting and the importance to vote, registering them or re-registering them in our case.  We have a lot of folks registered through Missouri Disability Vote Project in the past.  So —

>> Welcome to Verizon wireless, the number you dialed —

>>Derek: In addition to doing inventory of how you are coming into contact with them, you’re going to want to, something we did do I think has really been helpful lately is building a structure for how do we want to engage folks and bring them through a ladder of engagement that builds their skills and allows them to be a leader —

>> This is Robert, may I speak —

>>Jessica: Sorry to interrupt Derek.  We hear somebody talking um, I actually Derek if you don’t mind just figure out how to mute everyone.  So sorry for the delay but I think this will be better.

>> Elevator there at the building she called —

>>Jessica: Okay so Derek hit star 6 and we will make sure we can hear you.

>>Derek: Can you hear me?

>>Jessica: Now we can hear you, great.  Go ahead.  Sorry for the delay.

>>Derek: So that’s fine.  Um, so yeah building kind of structures um so really amplify your efforts so that you are not redoubling your effort every year.  So we kind of continually engage folks that came out and volunteered last year, this year we really include them in being a part of building our lobby days an stuff to keep them involved and continuing building skills.  So next year we’re able to have kind of like officers that will really help build out your efforts so it’s not as time consuming for you and you are actually building leadership that will help in your community advocacy an organizing work.  It is really we build, really intentional about developing leaders in the disability rights community.  And so that would be kind of like more micro level like building a structure.  So building coalitions in your area is super valuable and really um mobilizing as many folks as we can.  There’s a kind of study done for the disability voting like 5.7% less of a rate than folks without disabilities.  So like kind of nationally we could add like three million votes if we’re mobilizing everyone that’s registered to vote.  So really trying to work with other organizations who might not be as to do these efforts, there are a lot in the disability community that primarily focus on services and don’t really see GO TV as a service.  So partnering with other organizations to really make sure we’re using all that potential energy that Michelle was kind of talking about and building power in our communities.  So building a coalition but also having a structure there um that kind of develops leaders and other organizations that, you know, if you leave like that can still continue.  I know that was part of the bad fallout with disability vote project among other things.  To be really conscious of like sharing the wealth and developing folks even outside of your organization to continue this really important work.  Then um I have been a part of a lot of stuff where folks like know people coming into a phone bank or you have volunteers coming out, maybe they have done it a few times so kind of like skip over during a training.  I would encourage folks, this is kind of a nuance I guess is always do a lot of training within that like structure, whether it is facilitating meetings or training the trainer stuff.  But I think it is really important to kind of keep community in what you’re trying to do, your messaging, but also like it reinforces good habits and leadership development.  So you can have again like the work around, then so you kind of tool, tool things are listening enhancement and kind of phone bank services are really important to kind of look into.  I had zero experience with any of this until last year coming into the, but list enhancement kind of brings your list and cross-reference your list of folks with voter data in your area.  This is really important in building a more targeted strategy.  Allows to tailor more messaging at critical intervals.  Registering folks to vote, you’ll know who you need to call, not calling a million people that you really, already registered that you don’t need to necessarily spend as much time doing.  And with the phone banking, going back on list enhancement, kind of a rough estimate, Michelle probably has a much better estimate, I anywhere between like a thousand and two thousand for a list enhancement.  I think it might depend on your size a little bit.  But calls again, these are important.  Make the calls.  But there are a number of ways that you can do that through online programs where you upload your list and run a sort of predicted dialer.  So will skip over if someone is not home.  It will just like skip to the next available caller which really if you’re going to, for phone banking, is great.  However, we were hand dialing everything last year.  We wasted a lot of time and energy um hitting bad numbers and folks that weren’t home.  So your volunteers will love you if you do a predictive dialer.  So this is all that I have sort of nuts and bolts kind of thing.  There’s the kind of no replacement for doing a time line and kind of sticking to that time line cuz Ken Jackson, so really great GO TV guy in California, I saw him speak this year, he really emphasized that time is one resource that you can’t get back.  So um build your time line and make sure that you’re really contacting folks.  You really want to contact folks through this time line, really have a constructive mobilization for folks.  I think that’s all that I have for that so, give it back over to —

>> Thank you Derek.

>>Michelle: Thank you so much Derek, that was incredibly helpful to get all of those details out.  Michelle did you want to say anything else about how things look like nationally or did you want to open it up.  Oh I’m sorry, don’t forget to hit star 6 so we can hear you.

>>Michelle: Um, I mean, I think nationally this is a good time to seize the moment because we are on the horizon of a major national election, so I think there’s a good opportunity

around this stuff.  I would also caution that the smaller elections, midterm elections um, primary elections, where turnout tends to be lower are really good opportunities to really demonstrate the power of the disability vote, the lower the turnout that is the bigger of a showing we can, a bigger of an impact we can have.  We do tend to have these conversations a lot when there are major elections coming up.  This is something we should think about all the time, we should be doing voter registration at the time, we should do voter education around every election, even little elections, they can have big impact in great opportunities for us as we are building a voting block.

And that’s, that is the one thing I would stress.  I mean, other than that, you know, if people have questions or things they want to talk about we can go straight to that.  I do some work around some federal level voting rights legislation, we’ve been doing around voting act if you want to talk about that we can I don’t want to necessarily cut into Q and A time either.  I will leave that up to all of you.

>>Jessica: Great, a huge thank you to Michelle and Derek before we move on to that really wonderful kind of outline of a lot of the pieces of voting and why this is so important to mobilize our vote.  So with that we will open it up to, I know there are folks on here that a lot of other experience, if you want to share a little bit about what you’re doing in your area or if you have questions for our speakers or other participants go ahead and hit star 6 to unmute yourself and then go ahead and share your question or comments.

>> Can you hear me?

>> Hi this is Susanne Herb from Pennsylvania —

>>Jessica: We will take Susanne and go back to the other person that tried to speak —

>> This is really exciting.  This is the first time I’ve been in on this particular call and I think um I’m going to start attending this more often.  I just want to make sure that everybody understands the importance of making sure that materials that get sent out are accessible and this really does include all electronic-based materials as well.  I really um, I’ve encountered so many times when I’ve been interested in a candidate and the website was not accessible or at least not very useable and it sort of put a bad taste in my mouth when I was trying to decide who to vote for.  So when we all send out information to our constituencies I hope that everybody tries to remember to make sure that they’re accessible to everybody.

>>Jessica: Thank you for that, this is Jessica.  That also reminds me we do have some materials that I wanted to share with our Organizer’s Forum group.  Ted Jackson in California, who Derek mentioned put together a voting rights manual.  He made sure that is accessible in Word and PDF.  We’ll put that on the NDLA website disabilityleadership.org and we will also send that on the Organizer’s Forum Yahoo group.  We also have Bob [Name?] I hope Bob is on this call, he has put together some great materials with the, what is it Disability Voting Action Project of Texas called REJ up, for register and vote, a lot of good materials that people can kind of ADAPT for their states.  So Bob if you are there, can you weigh on whether, I’m assuming you meant for us to share those through the network, is that right?

>> Bob: Yeah Jessica, the one thing I just want to pick up on list development, one, well two things.  One is, you know, voter registration is, you know state-by-state, local-by-local and each state has different rules, regulations so it really needs to be some attempt to have some coordinating entity in a state like the gentlemen from St. Louis having a voting project.  Because again it, without it sort of coming together with some coordination it’s difficult to convey that the disability vote is really there um because we say convincing policymakers is totally a different thing.  But so, you know, disability voting action project came out of a project ADAPTive Texas, mainly not because ADAPT really wanted to do it but nobody else pulled this together.  P and A was doing good on the website and they were doing some good education about the, there really wasn’t any, you know, specific, you know, register educate and get the vote out.  So that’s why we started and we’re going to be transitioning that into separate 501.4 organization because one, we didn’t think it was for ADAPT to do you but as 5013c we could do forms, do surveys, but if we bet get too close to political we didn’t want to do that, the big thing we did in Texas, it is really state by state, list development, I always thought if we could, the more understand names and addresses and all the motor vehicle disability tags, we could have quite a bit of a list.  So in the past we had gotten the power transit list, which is public information in Texas, in Austin, so we had that.  But the Department of Motor Vehicle and we got something back we can’t get their addresses, you can’t get the information that we had asked for.  I didn’t know that if you don’t respond to them that you accepted they have to refer to the Attorney General.  So to make this short, you know, the Attorney General said you can’t get the names, you can’t get the addresses, you can’t get the e-mails but for $137 I got 1.2 million phone numbers of people in Texas that had disability tags, both the permanent and the temporary.

And I then, like the gentlemen from St. Louis found out, that there are companies that actually can match the phone numbers to the voter list.  Which is public information.

And so the long and the short of it is we currently have like 650,000 people of 1.2 million that we know have voted so, you know, right now then we are trying to find funding to try to know what the next step is.  But that’s where we started to register, educate, vote user power concept.  Because again even though there’s a lot of talk about voter registration, like one major focus, like in Texas, we have a voter project.  Mostly tries to register Hispanic voters, the urban league does for African-Americans.  Now the mental health association in our state does it for people with mental health.  But there really is no real focus and that’s where we are now trying to, you know, do a big register.  In Texas it is really pretty easy even with all that was said about the voter ID, it is still just a postcard.  So I’ll stop there and, you know, sorry Jennifer has, our general materials and I think getting the list, because I can remember way back when Becky Hogle was working for President Clinton and when talked about voting she said well what is your list.  Even some of the best lists in the country have 5 or 7 thousand, in all honesty, parties both republican and democratic are looking for numbers.  Write to the department of motor vehicle, you might be surprised it might be public information then you can go from there.  Thank you.

>>Jessica: Thank you so much Rob, this is Jessica again.  We really appreciate the feedback on the materials.  There was a woman who was trying to get in a moment ago, who was that?

>> Um I think I’m on, am I still on?

>>Jessica: Yes, go ahead.

>> Can you hear me?  This is Helen Walsh, I run a project Reverse Disability Media just um digital media specialist as well as a public relation person — [speaker off mic] in the community for ten years now.  So my question is Michelle and Derek, Derek you had mentioned time lines being really important it is also important for media and I’m also speaking power, to show your power to engage that way as well to get people involved.  So I’m kind of wondering, because usually I support the media or you might have seen it done with the Legacy Project is provide that.  Several years ago, many years ago I did a test project on find a way possibly to get people more encouraged to cover disability issues.  I created a website that had all the candidates on this and this was after the primary area, during the primary area within a college system.  To see how students would respond and it provided the information on the topics of disability and what the different candidates had been doing in regards to their involvement in disability areas.  So I’m wondering if anybody has looked further into doing that.  I know the test for me was successful, which was in a junior college area at Petersach.  I’m wondering two things, what are we doing to utilize this cost effective means of social media and ways of making it accessible to get um the word out and the dialogue going now.  Time lines are important, very important, and we should have been on this a year ago.  Right now we can still do something.  I will like to help where I can.  I usually follow the media, as some people may know here and I also activate it with the different entities I know.  So I’m wondering, in terms of the educational areas of getting out to vote, disability voting, is that something that’s in the pipe pipeline?

>>Jessica: Michelle or Derek, do you want to try to answer that?  We’re not hearing you, are you muting maybe?

>>Derek: Hello?

>>Jessica: Yes, is that Derek?

>>Derek: Yes.

>>Jessica: Great, go ahead.

>>Derek: I don’t think I

if there is anything kind of nationally happening.  But I have mentioned getting together a committee or coalition in your area to kind of work on this stuff and the up with that we are kind of working on here in St. Louis that’s actually our social media, social um concerned as one of the topic that is we’re trying to come up with is how we can actually leverage Twitter and FaceBook in a way that’s effective to mobilizing folks.  We talked about doing, I know that some groups have had actual pretty good success using the advertisements on FaceBook for identify voters and mobilizing voters for social media.  But I don’t know if anything is happening on that nationally.

>> Good afternoon, this is Justin Chapel with Respectability —

>> Can you all hear me?

>>Jessica: Yes we hear Ben and Jennifer, I was just going to ask if either of you wanted to speak.  Go ahead.

>> This is Justin Chapel, Jennifer, I asked that I call in on behalf of Respectability USA.  I wanted to give you all an update of what we are doing nationally.  We are very focused on making sure that the disability votes is part of the 2016 Presidential election.  Thus far we have been to the republican debates and have had 101 interviews with a number of the Presidential candidates and we’ve had those interviews posted on our website and through our social media at RespectabilityUSA.org and we’re certainly looking for other organizations that would like to come with us at debates and to work with us in other things that we’re doing.  Jennifer, she would be on this call, but she is actually flying out to Iowa right now.  We are hosting a meeting this evening of leaders in the disability community that live in Iowa and we have about five or six of the campaigns that have confirmed their attendance at this meeting to hear from the leaders of the disability community about the issues that are important to them and certainly how a lot of those issues are directly related to employment.  The other thing that we’re certainly looking for that we would love help on is if a Presidential candidate happens to come to your area and you have the opportunity to talk with them, you know, to pull out your phone or you know whatever recording device and with their permission get their views on disability issues and we would be more than happy to add that to our social media stream that we currently have of press tension candidates that have been given their feedback.  We’re going to be doing meetings like the one we are doing in Iowa tonight, we’re going to be doing that at several other states as the Presidential campaign progresses and introducing the Presidential candidates to leaders, disability community leaders in those states as well as getting feedback from those disability leaders on the issues that are most important to the disability community in their state and making sure that the Presidential candidates aware of those issues.

>>Jessica: Thank you so much Justin, we really appreciate the work you all are doing.  Have you already or did I ask you to put the Respectability website on the FaceBook page or on the Yahoo group so people can see that and have access to it.

>> hopefully they will do that.

>> This is Diane, I wanted to be sure everyone knows there are some questions in the chat that I would like to share whenever people are ready.

>>Jessica: Go ahead Diane, I think it is a good time.

>> Diane: I tried to break in a couple of times and discovered that my mute function on my phone is in addition to your mute function and I have to unmute twice in order to get there.  Specifically I apologize for the delay in the questions out there.

First is I’m new to advocacy and just discovered at the support meeting that nine out of ten of my participants do not vote and feel their vote doesn’t matter.  These are individuals with developmental disabilities, what suggestions can I use to get them voting?    And then an individual responded with several good suggestions as follows: 1,  yes more voter registration and all the time, not just before an election.  2, continuing to advocate for more sensible polling centers.  3, better training of staff at those.  For example how to use braille, the braille fold or communication with Deaf voters or clarifying the rights of people with intellectual disabilities to vote.  4, training for people with disabilities on their rights to vote and why to vote.  Maybe wordless or easy read format for people with intellectual disabilities.  5, look at laws that may be making it harder to vote, such as Guardianship for people with intellectual or psycho and social disabilities.  Another question that came up, why has nobody ever tried to issue a report card on how legislator voted on key issues.  Many other organizations have similar report cards that try to hold legislators accountable.  Then another person says, I’m not the person who asked about report cards, but I’m hoping if this is one of the things they will be doing at Respectability USA.  I think the report card question is still kind of hanging out there.

>>Michelle: I’m sorry guys, I had trouble getting off mute earlier.  I guess I can speak to the report card issue a little bit.  I wanted to say the earlier question about timing and using social media, I don’t think we leveraged social media very well.  It has been very hard, a big part of the social media push is getting things to trend on Twitter and getting our issues to trend has been really difficult, simply because we need the people to do it.  They need to get on social media, they use actively and commit to getting things to go viral and getting things to trend.  We can put it out all we want, if it doesn’t go viral and doesn’t trend it doesn’t really have an impact.  There needs to be a national community-wide commitment to making that more of a reality.  On the issue of report cards, report cards are doable but they fall into a little bit of a tricky area in terms of 501.3 activities, report cards that rate or score how well you have done, you get an A or a B + in terms of our issues, are a C4 activity.  Or much, much closer to C4 line.  The organizations that I know that do those are not typically 5013 organizations, I mean the, hmm, yeah, I mean really at that point going to be getting into election if you are talking about people who are actively candidates and ranking them.  You can do a score cards that just show how votes went down in terms of who voted yes and no on different issues.  That should be an allowable activity, those have been done before just not on a broader scale and I think the issue is that more, we can do that on a national level but those are really, really effective at the state and local level when talking about state legislator.  Whatever is happening at national level falling to the states to participate in things like Medicare exchanges, if the state legislators are not willing to play ball, that has a huge impact on people with disabilities.  So I sometimes think that those types of things are, have more of an impact at the state and local level.  They are being done in some places, but not being done at all I guess almost to get the word out that these are the types of activities you can do.  I have seen those, seen voter guides on questionnaires and candidate forums, you will all I think are really effective at state and local level.  Once we get to national level I think some effectiveness is diluted but it is something we can think about.

>> This is Terry.  I’m hoping we can build on the in 2012 when we started to identify architectural technology and physical barriers to voting.  So maybe we can put some organization into that and the social media stuff.

>> Did I make a comment, this is Helen again.

>>Jessica: You can make a really quick comment.  This is Jessica, unfortunately I realized we are at the hour, we are going to have to wrap-up, you get the last word.

>> How can I make this comment, ADA25 celebrate was a test project done within a four month period of time.  I request people to review that to see as an individual, the amount of got on Twitter, I am saying social media is valuable.  It is how you go about doing it, I may be able to get IP site to that.  As IT expert, digital media expert and PR and disability advocate I do have a lot of information in regard to things I’ve done as an individual to help in these areas of cost effective media.

>>Jessica: Right, well thank you for that.  This is Jessica and I’m going to have to end our call, unfortunately, there is so much dialogue happening here, I really hope we can continue some of this on the Yahoo group and on the FaceBook page.  We will also have a recording of the call and the transcript up on the National Disability Leadership Alliance website, again disabilityleadership.org, thank you to the center for disability rights in Rochester New York for making the recording happen and the website, getting that on there.  Most of all a huge thanks to Michelle Bishop and Derek Wetherell and all of our participants for sharing such important ideas and insights and information about what we can all do in our communities.  Hopefully we’ll be able to work together more and be really effective in turning out people with disabilities in the 2016 Presidential election and every other election.  We will have a call again next month, third Tuesday, same time.  If somebody has an idea please e-mail me.  What am I forgetting?  Thanks to our captioner as well.  The other thing I’m doing, we didn’t do introductions because we had so many people, had about 50 people on, that was really great.  We do want to know who you all are, if you haven’t already there is a link to a registration form that should be in the e-mail you got about this call.  Please click on that and enter basic information.  It will take about a minute.  On that note I think we are done.  So thanks again for everybody and have a great day.

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