As the 2016 election process heats up, newly launched online campaign #CripTheVote is lighting up the Internet as a way to bring awareness to disability related issues in the 2016 presidential campaign. Created by disability activists Gregg Beratan, Andrew Pulrang and Alice Wong, #CripTheVote is a “nonpartisan campaign to engage both voters and politicians in a productive discussion about disability issues in the United States, with the hope that Disability takes on greater prominence within the American political landscape,” their mission statement reads.
“Our primary message is that disabled people are tired of being an afterthought to the political establishment,” explains Beratan. “We are not the last special interest you rattle off at the end of a laundry list of constituencies — we are nation’s largest minority and its time the politicians at every level of our government paid attention.”
Taking place on Twitter before, during and after presidential debates, #CripTheVote conversations allow disabled voters to voice their opinions and concerns on such topics as unemployment, healthcare, housing needs, and accessibility just to name a few.
“Disabled Americans deal with twice the unemployment rate that nondisabled Americans do, we are more likely to live in poverty, end up incarcerated, experience violence, and much of the nation’s housing and transportation infrastructure is inaccessible to many of us,” says Beratan. “Add to that an education system that treats us as second class citizens and we have a situation that is long past needing political action.
Co-founder Alice Wong adds that many in the disabled community are not politically active due to the lack of voting booth accessibility across the country.
“In 2016 there are still barriers to voting and political participation, which is unacceptable, she explains. “Another aspect of the campaign is to highlight the ways people with disabilities are participating in the political process and how they are not.”