Thousands of people with disabilities in California living under conservatorship may not realize they are disqualified from voting AND that their voting rights can be restored thanks to a law that came in effect January 2016 (see below).
Election Day is less than 80 days away!! People with disabilities in California living under conservatorship need to be notified by the state of their rights and how to restore them as soon as possible. This should be a requirement of the State of California.
Tweet California Secretary of State Alex Padilla @CASOSvote and demand that the state notify all people with disabilities impacted by this new law. Tell him what you think. Share the bear image from this website as well!
Why are we focusing on the Secretary of State? Secretary Padilla is the Chief Elections Officer for the State of California and oversees the Election Division. We don’t know if this is possible or the specifics of how notification would work, but that’s not our focus. At the very least there needs to be increased and targeted voter outreach and education to Californians with disabilities.
If you have the time, you can also Tweet some other California elected officials about this issue and keep the pressure on Secretary Padilla!
Governor Jerry Brown: @JerryBrownGov
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom: @GavinNewsom
Senator Dianne Feinstein: @SenFeinstein
Senator Barbara Boxer: @SenatorBoxer
Sample Tweets to Secretary of State Alex Padilla
@CASOSvote some 50,000 disabled Californians may not know that they are disqualified to vote or how to fix it. Help them! #CripTheVote
@CASOSvote after SB 589 became law, why didn’t you do targeted voter ed & outreach to disabled people under guardianship? #CripTheVote
Hey @CASOSvote, disabled people have the right to participate in democracy! Make SB 589 work. Notify them immediately! #CripTheVote
Yo, @CASOSvote! Disabled people under conservatorship want to #CripTheVote. You must notify & inform them on how to restore their rights!
Hey @CASOSvote: you said you supported SB 589! Disabled people want to vote this November! Do the right thing–it’s your job! #CripTheVote
Yo, @CASOSvote! What’s the point of having a Voters Bill of Rights if disabled ppl don’t even know they are disqualified? #CripTheVote
@CASOSvote All disabled Californians have the right to vote. Make SB 589 work & contact the ppl under under conservatorship #CripTheVote
You can email the Elections Division staff: http://www.sos.ca.gov/elections/contact/email-elections-division/
You can also call or write the Elections Division of the State of California:
1500 11th Street, 5th Floor
Sacramento CA 95814
Phone: (916) 657-2166
Monday through Friday
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
There are certainly legal and privacy issues surrounding notification and in no way are we experts on how to approach this. Nor are we political insiders with specific agendas and methods of navigating state politics. However, we do want to advocate for additional outreach by the Elections Division to this specific population in the disability community and/or other means the State can serve voters with disabilities effectively.
In October 2015, California Governor Jerry Brown signed Senate Bill 589, a law that provides voting rights protections for approximately 50,000 Californians with disabilities who are under conservatorship. Authored by San Diego Senator Marty Block,
SB 589 protects the voting rights of people with disabilities by no longer basing the revocation of the right to vote on whether a person can fill out a voter registration form, but instead on whether a person can express a desire to participate in the voting process. The new standards are based on a series of recommendations for defining and assessing capacity to vote adopted by the American Bar Association in 2007 (source: American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California 10/10/15).
Check out this recent story about David Rector, a person with multiple disabilities under conservatorship, and his request to a judge in San Diego Superior Court to restore his voting rights. In addition to Rector’s request, another advocacy group filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Justice asking that the State of California be required to notify people with disabilities under conservatorship about their voting status
Elections and Voter Information: State of California
Voter Bill of Rights, State of California
Email Alice Wong: DisabilityVisibilityProject@gmail.com
Now is the time.