September 11 through 15, 2023 is Disability Voters Rights Week. This week is meant to bring awareness and to celebrate the voter rights of citizens with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
“If people with disabilities voted at the same rate as people without disabilities who have the same demographic characteristics, there would be about 2 million more voters,” according to ‘Disability and Voter Turnout in the 2022 Elections, Supplemental Analysis of Census Voter Turnout Data’ by Lisa Schur, Douglas Kruse, and Mason Ameri.
Madison County recently received a small grant to purchase small ramps and signage for easier accessibility to a polling place. Additionally, curbside voting is always available for any disabled or elderly voter who cannot enter a polling place due to the structural features of the building. Curbside voting, if needed, should be requested by the Monday before Election Day by calling the Madison County Clerk’s Office at (618) 692-6290.
The Madison County Clerk’s Office has also adopted its Student Ambassador Program, a student-led approach to learning about the importance and fundamentals of voting, and then through a peer-to-peer approach, educate their classmates about the process. The program further trains high school juniors and seniors to register classmates to vote, and encourages them to hold non-partisan voter registration drives at their schools. Student Ambassadors are encouraged to recruit qualifying students as Student Election Judges on Election Day.
Benefits of the Ambassador program include demonstration of leadership skills, county-wide recognition, participation in civic minded activities, and more. Thirteen Madison County High Schools are participating, and the first meeting will be held Oct. 16, 2023 at the County Administration Building. For more information, students should contact their high school principal or counselor, or call the County Clerk’s Office.