#TheArcVotes (The Arc of Massachusetts REV UP Campaign)

#TheArcVotes
The Arc of Massachusetts REV UP Campaign

 

Welcome to the homepage for #TheArcVotes, The Arc of Massachusetts REV UP Campaign. Election season is just around the corner in Massachusetts. The state primaries will be held on Tuesday, September 4, 2018 (last day to register: August 15), and the state election will be held on Tuesday, November 6, 2018 (last day to register: October 17). Though these elections are mid-term elections, we at The Arc of Massachusetts want to remind you how important they are for our community. “When you vote, you choose who represents the disability community in the government at all levels . . . You have the power to choose who decides the structure and funding of disability programs, like our lifelines—including Medicaid and Social Security” (https://www.thearc.org/what-we-do/resources/toolkits/vote). With so much at stake, let’s mobilize our community! Please make sure that all eligible voters* in your family and disability network are registered to vote.

* Help America Vote Act (HAVA) 2002: Voting needs to be “accessible for individuals with disabilities, including nonvisual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation (including privacy and independence) as for other voters” (“On Voting Accessibility for People with Disabilities,” Norman Ornstein and Kristina Kopić). It further mandates that every voting place have at least one accessible voting machine.


 

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Voting Rights of Persons Under Guardianship

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.

Therefore, a person is eligible to vote unless he/she is subject to a guardianship decree which specifically prohibits voting. 

Further, a person under guardianship is not required to shoulder the burden of obtaining court modification or findings of their guardianship decree explicitly allowing him or her to vote. Local election officials have no discretion to reject voter registration because of guardianship unless the guardianship decree specifically prohibits the person under guardianship from voting.

The Elections Division of the Massachusetts Secretary of State can be reached at 800-462-VOTE (8683) toll-free or 617-727-2828.

Frederick M. Misilo, Jr. is an Officer of Fletcher Tilton PC, Chairperson of the Elder Law and Special Needs Practice Group, and Chairperson of the Trust and Estate Department. He also serves on the firm’s Management Committee. As one of the nation’s leading elder law and special needs attorneys, he focuses his practice on the areas of elder law, special needs planning, estate planning, estate and trust administration, guardianship, and adult service advocacy.

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Join as us we work to REV UP the vote!

Posted in | Posted on June 18, 2018 | Leave a comment Continue reading

Opinion: Voting Really Makes A Difference

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.

These precious rights should be of value to ALL individuals of American origin, born or naturalized, to take time to exercise them. Politicians listen to people who vote – or they’ll be out of a job. Elections have a lot to do in our lives and the lives of people close to us. Changing a couple of votes in the Senate or House –  in the State Legislature – can change what happens to billions of dollars.

Helping other American citizens to register to vote, and reminding them how important it is to vote, is a part of my calling for them to have the voice that we need while making our participation in the US democratic process stronger.

Henry Milorin is a former Board Member of The Arc of Massachusetts. A Haitian immigrant, Henry came to the United States in his 20s with dreams of becoming a dentist. Upon the birth of his son Reggie, however, his career path changed. Reggie was born with autism, and Henry’s career and life path changed toward a life of advocacy. Over the last twenty years Henry has served as a volunteer and on the board of numerous disability organizations. He is a political advisor and consultant and a strong believer in civic engagement. Along with his wife, Evelyne (a former LEND fellow), he has become a revered member of the disability community, as well as the Haitian community within the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Connect with The Arc of Massachusetts on Facebook!
Join as us we work to REV UP the vote!

Posted in | Posted on June 11, 2018 | Leave a comment Continue reading

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