Have you had challenges when trying to vote? On this forum, voters with disabilities tell stories of both frustration and triumph - as they participate in one of the most important actions of civic life - voting privately, securely and independently.
Our guests include individuals with spinal injuries, visual impairment, and epilepsy. All of them are deeply involved in voting rights.
These two groups have historically taken positions in opposition to each other. Voters with disabilities often rely on technology to vote, but that technology can sometimes be a less secure option for casting a ballot. Solutions to this include improving the security of ballot-marking devices and eliminating design elements that are particularly risky.
It is important for the security community to embrace voters with disabilities and acknowledge their need for technology. Awareness of security issues must also be elevated within the broader voting rights movement and individual communities. All voters, including voters with disabilities, deserve to have confidence that their votes will be counted as cast.
We welcome both those with and without disabilities. The forum is designed so that all voters can better understand the needs of our various communities.
Terence Page is president of the Greater New York Council of the Blind. He has an Associate's Degree in Sociology and a Bachelor of Arts degree in English Literature, with a focus on Political Science. He is a published writer, poet, musician and professional artist. He was featured in the New York Times in an article about navigating the streets of New York blind. He'll speak about systemic problems voters with disabilities encounter and his work on legislative solutions.
Tashia Lerebours is the Voting Access Organizer & Trainer at CIDNY ( Center for Independence of the Disabled, NY). She was diagnosed with epilepsy at age 7. She has undergone multiple surgical procedures, and faced challenges including seizures so severe they led to 10 years of unemployment. She'll share the challenges and joys she has faced voting and advocating for voters.
Keith Gurgui is a Systems Advocate at the Resource Center for Accessible Living. He holds a degree in Political Science from SUNY New Paltz. A spinal cord injury after high school resulted in Keith being a quadriplegic. He serves on the Board of the New York State Spinal Cord Injury Research Program, and is a former board member of the New York State Independent Living Council. He will address the extensive problems with technology and poll worker training he has encountered when voting.
Moderator: Lulu Friesdat, Co-Founder & Executive Director of SMART Elections
Co-host: Bennie Smith, Shelby County TN Election Commissioner & Software Developer
National Disability Voter Registration Week
Our forum comes immediately following National Disability Voter Registration Week sponsored by the American Association of People with Disabilities. Individuals from numerous disability rights groups have helped plan the event. Our guests are advocates from The Center for the Independence of the Disabled of New York, The Greater NY Council of the Blind, and the Resource Center for Accessible Living.
Please mark your calendar and sign up to join us for this remarkable event.