RespectAbility Unveils #PwDsVote Disability Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates

Questions Focus on Issues Relating to Employment and Stigma

By Lauren Appelbaum, August 7, 2016

Disabled voters using accssible voting machines are shown.

America has 56 million people with disabilities, comprising the
largest minority group in America, and the only one that,
due to an accident or illness, anyone can join at any time.

Washington, Aug. 7 – Last winter, RespectAbility sent the #PwDsVote Presidential Campaign Questionnaire to all of the presidential candidates. Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton responded in full. While several Republican primary candidates did, Republican nominee Donald Trump’s campaign has yet to return any answers to the questionnaire.

Now RespectAbility has adapted the questionnaire for down-ballot races, focusing on open and competitive senate and gubernatorial races. This gives the disability community an opportunity to make a difference by contacting these candidates and urging them to complete the questionnaire. RespectAbility has provided the candidates’ email addresses and Twitter handles for people to do so. They are below.

The deadline to be entered into the voter guide is Monday, August 29. As answers are returned, they will be posted here on The RespectAbility Report. See the questions at the bottom of the post.

Members of the disability community can engage candidates to include disability issues in their speeches and platforms by emailing or tweeting candidates to ask them to respond to the #PwDsVote Disability Campaign Questionnaire for Senate and Gubernatorial Candidates! Here are some Tweet examples:

These are the questions RespectAbility submitted to the campaigns. They also provided each candidate with a 10-page resource guide to help with answering these questions. View it here:

Please first start by answering YES or NO regarding if you have a plan/answer on this issue or not. Then include specific details of your plan up to 250 words for each answer. In addition, if you have more to say on an issue, please link back to the appropriate place on your website for people to learn more.

  1. Do you have designated advisors and clear processes for making decisions on disability issues? If yes, please describe.
  2. Is your campaign accessible and inclusive to people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.
  3. Do you have a proven record on improving or a plan to improve the lives of people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.
  4. Do you have a plan/commitment to reduce the stigmas about people with disabilities that are barriers to employment, independence and equality? If yes, please describe.
  5. Do you have a proven record on enabling, or a plan to enable, people with disabilities to have jobs, careers and to start their own businesses? Do you have specific strategies for youth employment for people with disabilities and/or sector strategies such as jobs and careers in STEM, hospitality, healthcare and elder care? If yes, please describe.
  6. Do you have a plan to enable students with disabilities, including those from historically marginalized communities and backgrounds, to receive the diagnosis, Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and accommodations/services they need to succeed in school and be prepared for competitive employment? If yes, please describe.
  7. Do you have a plan to reform the benefits system (Medicaid, Medicaid buy-in) to enable people with disabilities to work to the best of their capacities without losing supports they need to work? If yes, please describe.
  8. Do you have a plan to ensure people with disabilities are eligible for affordable health insurance regardless of pre-existing conditions? If yes, please describe.
  9. Do you have a plan to provide home and community-based services to people with disabilities who would rather live in their own homes instead of institutions, and have the community attendant supports they need to work? If yes, please describe.
  10. Do you have a plan to ensure that individuals with disabilities receive services that would prevent them from being swept up into the criminal justice system, divert individuals with disabilities who are arrested to treatment options in lieu of jail where appropriate, receive needed accommodations in the criminal justice process and while incarcerated, and offer appropriate re-entry support to help individuals with disabilities leaving jails and prisons re-integrate into their communities and secure jobs? If yes, please describe.
  11. People with disabilities are twice as likely to be victims of crime as those without disabilities. People with disabilities also are far more likely to suffer from police violence, partially because manifestations of disability can be misunderstood as defiant behavior. Do you have a plan to address these issues? If yes, please describe.
  12. Both children and adults with disabilities are more likely to be victims of rape or sexual assault. Do you have a plan to address this issue? If yes, please describe.
  13. Do you have a plan for veterans with disabilities facing barriers transitioning from active duty to civilian employment? If yes, please describe.
  14. Do you have a plan for accessible, affordable, integrated housing to allow people with disabilities to live in the communities where they work or are seeking work? If yes, please describe.
  15. Do you have a plan to address the lack of accessible transportation options that is a barrier to work for people with disabilities? If yes, please describe.
  16. Do you have a plan to advance innovations (i.e., assistive technologies, devices) that can help people with disabilities become more successfully employed, productive and independent? If yes, please describe.
  17. (SENATORS ONLY) In your foreign policy and national security plan, do you plan to continue America’s tradition of standing up for the rights of oppressed people, including people with disabilities, around the world? If yes, please describe.

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