On Saturday morning, July 14, The Arc of Massachusetts Executive Director Leo Sarkissian appeared on WBZ / CBS Boston’s 4 Your Community with anchor Anaridis Rodriguez. In this interview, Leo discusses the ongoing national efforts behind the REV UP campaign, as well as The Arc of Massachusetts’ own campaign, #TheArcVotes!
After completing a training on voting and the registration process, members of Vinfen’s Metro Boston Self-Advocacy Group are now focusing their advocacy efforts on encouraging people with disabilities to vote and make their voices heard. The group is comprised of people Vinfen serves who have intellectual and developmental disabilities and is led by Vinfen Director of Service Asela Jayasinghe and Director of Community Living Meg Gaydos.
Voting is a fundamental right of all American citizens. Federal and state law provide important protections for persons with disabilities to ensure the protection of the fundamental right to vote. While Massachusetts law makes persons “under guardianship” ineligible to vote in all elections, this provision has been interpreted by the Elections Division of the Massachusetts Secretary of State to refer only to guardianships that contain specific findings prohibiting voting.
No right is more precious than the constitutional right to select our leaders. Yet thousands of eligible disabled American citizens are not even registered to vote. There was a time in the US nation’s history when barriers were erected to limit citizen access to the voting booth. The federal Voting Rights Act further safeguards the rights of all Americans to participate in our electoral system.