An Iowa group is offering grants to Iowans with disabilities who’re interested in conducting "get-out-the-vote" activities in their communities for others with disabilities. Rik Shannon is the program director for Iowans with Disabilities in Action, or I-D Action.
Shannon says the objective is to "start closing the gap in voter participation in people with disabilities and people without disabilities." He says the campaign seeks to get people interested in the candidates and out to the polls in November. Shannon says they want to provide people with disabilities the tools they need for the upcoming election.
Shannon says they’ve asked people with disabilities why they haven’t gotten involved and the say they need more information, where to find information about the candidates and information that allows them to make capable confident decisions. Shannon says the grants can be used to address the concerns.
He says the reasons for not voting are the same as those a lot of people without disabilities would give for not voting. Shannon says some people would call them excuses for not voting, and if that is the case then I-D Action wants to get eliminate the excuses. Shannon says the education could also include information that’s specific to people with disabilities.
Shannon says people with disabilities have many of the same interests as those without disabilities, but they also are concerned about things such as Medicare and Medicaid fund that allows them to live independently. The "Vote 2008" grants will range from 500 to $2,000 to cover the costs of nonpartisan get-out-the-vote initiatives.