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Rocking the Disabled Vote in 2016: Highlighting Presidential Candidates & Voting Dates

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2016 is a bittersweet political year; President Obama will be finishing his last year in office, and we as Americans will have to elect a new president in November.  There is so much going on with this year’s presidential election that it may be exhausting to keep up with the latest news, the candidates running, and when to vote in your state caucus or primary.  This week, I wanted to share pertinent information that will help disabled and non-disabled voters know who the candidates are, when to vote, and when to watch the debates to empower oneself about which candidates are focused on the issues that matter to you.

Why Election 2016 Is Important to Disabled Voters

As I wrote on the blog in December, this is a critical election year that disabled voters have to “show up and show out,” so to speak.  As the largest minority group in the country, it is imperative that we demand that the presidential candidates have our issues and lives on their radars, and vote for those who make the disability agenda a part of their platform.  

RespectAbility published an article about how disabled voters are a key voting bloc, and the employment and educational statistics for the four states that will be the first to host caucuses and primaries:  Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and South Carolina.  When you look at the numbers for each of these four states, you realize how unbalanced the playing field is for disabled Americans to progress in comparison to their able-bodied peers, and how this unbalance can, and does, negatively impact the opportunities we cannot easily access and attain.  The disability agenda should be just as well-known as candidates’ stances on gun control and international politics – we cannot afford to make the misstep in electing a president who does not value or care about the disabled experience or fail to support initiatives and policies that will right the wrongs of discrimination and inequality we endure.  

Becoming an Empowered Disabled Voter:  Resources & Reminders to Remember as Election Day Approaches

Rooted In Rights has created a page that shares videos and information targeting disabled voters in learning about one’s voting rights, special voting information based on disability type, and how to fill out a voting ballot.  This is an invaluable resource tool, especially since this information can be challenging to find on one’s own, as well as understanding our rights to recognize and reduce the chance of experiencing voter discrimination or receiving inaccurate information.  

In addition to this resource, I want to provide a quick 2016 presidential election “cheat sheet” regarding where to find information about those running for the coveted political title, along with when you can vote in state primaries and caucuses and when to tune in to watch the debates, as Iowa kicks off the primary and caucus voting season next Monday.  


Know the 2016 Presidential Candidates

Democrats
Hillary Clinton, Former Secretary of State – https://www.hillaryclinton.com
Martin O’Malley, Former Maryland Governor – https://martinomalley.com
Bernie Sanders, U.S. Senator from Vermont – https://berniesanders.com/?nosplash=true%2F

Republicans (only the top polling candidates are listed)
Jeb Bush, Former Florida Governor – https://jeb2016.com/?lang=en
Ben Carson, Retired Pediatric Neurosurgeon – https://www.bencarson.com
Chris Christie, New Jersey Governor – https://www.chrischristie.com
Ted Cruz, U.S. Senator from Texas – https://www.tedcruz.org
Carly Fiorina, Former HP CEO – https://carlyforpresident.com
John Kasich, Ohio Governor – https://johnkasich.com
Marco Rubio, U.S. Senator from Florida – https://marcorubio.com/22-million/
Donald Trump, Businessman – https://www.donaldjtrump.com


Mark Your Calendars! – 2016 Primaries & Caucuses Voting Dates

(Key legend:  D = Democrats.  R = Republicans.)

Monday, February 1

  • Iowa caucus

Tuesday, February 9

  • New Hampshire

Saturday, February 20

  • Nevada caucus (D)
  • South Carolina (R)

Tuesday, February 23

  • Nevada caucus (R)

Saturday, February 27

  • South Carolina (D)

Tuesday, March 1 (Super Tuesday)

  • Alabama
  • Alaska caucus (R)
  • American Samoa caucus (D)
  • Arkansas
  • Colorado caucus
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Minnesota caucus
  • North Dakota caucus (R)
  • Oklahoma
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Wyoming caucus (R)

Saturday, March 5

  • Kansas caucus
  • Kentucky caucus (R)
  • Louisiana
  • Maine caucus (R)
  • Nebraska caucus (D)

Sunday, March 6

  • Maine caucus (D)
  • Puerto Rico (R)

Tuesday, March 8

  • Hawaii caucus (R)
  • Idaho (R)
  • Michigan
  • Mississippi
  • Democrats Abroad

Saturday, March 12

  • Guam (R convention)
  • Northern Marianas caucus (D)
  • District of Columbia caucus (R)

Tuesday, March 15

  • Florida
  • Illinois
  • Missouri
  • North Carolina
  • Northern Mariana Islands caucus
  • Ohio

Saturday, March 19

  • Virgin Islands caucus (R)

Tuesday, March 22

  • American Samoa (R convention)
  • Arizona
  • Idaho caucus (D)
  • Utah

Saturday, March 26

  • Alaska caucus (D)
  • Hawaii caucus (D)
  • Washington caucus (D)

Tuesday, April 5

  • Wisconsin

Saturday, April 9

  • Wyoming caucus (D)

Tuesday, April 19

  • New York

Tuesday, April 26

  • Connecticut
  • Delaware
  • Maryland
  • Pennsylvania
  • Rhode Island

Tuesday, May 3

  • Indiana

Saturday, May 7

  • Guam (D)

Tuesday, May 10

  • Nebraska (R)
  • West Virginia

Tuesday, May 17

  • Kentucky (D)
  • Oregon

Tuesday, May 24

  • Washington (R)

Saturday, June 4

  • Virgin Islands caucus (D)

Sunday, June 5

  • Puerto Rico caucus (D)

Tuesday, June 7

  • California
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • North Dakota caucus (D)
  • South Dakota

Tuesday, June 14

  • District of Columbia (D)

 

Mark Your Calendars! – 2016 Debates, Conventions, & Election Day Dates

Upcoming Political Party Debates

Saturday, February 6 – Republican Debate
Thursday, February 11 – Democratic Debate
Saturday, February 13 – Republican Debate
Thursday, February 25 – Republican Debate
Wednesday, March 9 – Democratic Debate
Thursday, March 10 – Republican Debate

National Convention

July 18-21 – GOP National Convention in Cleveland, OH
July 25-28 – Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, PA

Presidential Debates

Monday, September 26 – First Presidential Debate
Tuesday, October 4 – Vice Presidential Debate
Sunday, October 9 – Second Presidential Debate
Wednesday, October 19 – Third Presidential Debate

Election Day

Tuesday, November 8th

 

Final Thoughts

One thing I want to emphasis:  do not blow off this election year, and not vote.  Our next president will be electing Supreme Court justices, handling delicate international relations, and taking a stand to protect the rights and freedoms we are entitled to in this country.  Selecting our next Commander-in-Chief in an incredible responsibility that should never be taken lightly; be informed, be educated, and feel empowered when you go to the polls this year.  

The disabled vote matters more than it ever had before – rock the vote, and show everyone that our political voices and lives matter.  

(Featured headlining image:  Courtesy of ShutterStock.)

About Vilissa Thompson, LMSW

Vilissa is the Founder & CEO of Ramp Your Voice!, an organization she created to establish herself as a Disability Rights Consultant & Advocate. Ramp Your Voice! is a prime example of how macro-minded Vilissa truly is, and her determination to leave a giant "tire track mark" on the world.

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