Disability Rights Wisconsin (DRW) believes that voting is an important part of participating in the community. Over the years, individuals with disabilities have faced both discrimination and physical barriers to the electoral process. Examples of this include being wrongfully turned away from the polls because a person with a disability does not “appear” to be eligible to vote, not being able to get to the polling site because of barriers, and not being able to cast a private and independent ballot. These challenges are reflected in the statistics, which highlight that people with disabilities vote at a rate of 15 percent below the rate of the general voting population.
DRW works to break down these barriers by providing individual advocacy to people with disabilities who feel that they are discriminated against in the voting process, and by working systemically on state and local levels to break down barriers to voting.
DRW has played an integral part in the formation of the Wisconsin Disability Vote Coalition, a non-partisan initiative to increase voter turnout among people with disabilities through education, outreach and get out the vote (GOTV) efforts. Coalition members conduct local GOTV efforts for which the Coalition provides training and expertise.
DRW provides information, referral, advice, investigation, and assistance in filing complaints and, in select cases, legal representation to people with disabilities in Wisconsin who encounter disability discrimination in the voting process.