#TheArcVotes Blog

#TheArcVotes Blog

The 2018 Midterm Election: Voter Registration and Turnout

The final numbers for the November 6 mid-term election are still being tabulated before the results are turned over the Secretary of State’s office for certification. Results of the September 4 primary showed that of the 4,493,007 registered voters, only 1,004,605 showed up, thus representing 22.36%.

Madeline Merchant, Program Director of Family Support and Recreation, The Arc of Opportunity

Madeline Merchant, Program Director of Family Support and Recreation, The Arc of Opportunity

Early media reports for this mid-term on November 6 indicated that election officials felt that voter turnout would be much improved, with an anticipated turnout of just under 2.5 million in Massachusetts.

The Arc’s voter registration campaign was successful for many of our chapters who enrolled potential voters. For example, The Arc of Opportunity’s Madeline Merchant put together a voter workshop to educate participants about the importance of voting. In August, she personally registered over 35 individuals to vote. Special thanks to all who worked on this voter registration campaign, and additional thanks are given to Julie Heffernan and Katerina Daley for coordinating The Arc’s statewide REV UP campaign for the 17 chapters of The Arc.

Written by Charlie Fiske
Director of Public Policy

Posted in , , | Posted on November 7, 2018 | Leave a comment Continue reading

Reminder: Election Day is this Tuesday, November 6!

Tuesday, November 6 is voting day for State Elections. The ballot will include candidates for the MA constitutional officers (Governor/Lt. Governor, Attorney General, Secretary of State, Treasurer, Auditor); the US Congress; the MA Senate; the MA House of Representatives; the Governor’s Council; and County offices.

In addition, there are three initiative ballot questions. The Secretary of State’s webpage allows you to enter your address to view the names of the candidates in your district, as well as the details of the ballot questions.

In a 1944 radio address, Franklin D. Roosevelt offered one of the best motives for voting: “Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves — and the only way they could do this is by not voting.”

Most polls are open from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM and we urge everyone to get out and vote.

Written by Charlie Fiske
Director of Public Policy

Posted in , , | Posted on October 31, 2018 | Leave a comment Continue reading

Leo Sarkissian Discusses #TheArcVotes On WBZ 4 Your Community

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!

You can view the segment in its entirety below.

Posted in , , | Posted on July 16, 2018 | Leave a comment Continue reading

Vinfen Self-Advocates Encourage Voter Advocacy

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.

Due to their strong history of advocating for the rights and needs of people with disabilities, and dedication to supporting their local community through volunteerism, the Self-Advocacy Group was chosen to receive Vinfen’s first training on voter advocacy.

The training was delivered by Vinfen Development and Special Events Coordinator Alex Yellin, who developed the Vinfen Voter Advocacy Guide and training plan with the aim of supporting the people Vinfen serves to register, vote, and address the issues that matter to them. The self-advocates learned about the voting process, including how to register, their rights on Election Day, and what to expect at the polls. Several individuals registered to vote during the training.

For Donald L., it was his first time registering to vote. “This is an opportunity I’ve never felt I had before, but now that I have it, I’m going to vote,” he said. He was especially excited to support his preferred candidate in the next presidential election.

Kim W. was thrilled to have the chance to register to vote during the training. “I want to vote because I want my voice to be heard,” she said. Armed with this knowledge on the intricacies of the voting process, the group has set their sights on supporting other people with disabilities to advocate for themselves by voting.

“I want to vote because I feel it’s time to be a part of the movement that supports people with disabilities,” said Javel P. He and his fellow group members have been working hard to connect people served by Vinfen and other people with disabilities in their communities with the resources they need to vote and advocate for themselves. But perhaps most importantly, they have gone above and beyond to provide encouragement and reminders about the importance of voting.

“I’ve been voting for long time and I will never miss an election. I always vote,” said self-advocacy group member Barbara M. Another veteran voter, Deb T., echoed her enthusiasm for the importance of making your voice heard by submitting a ballot. “Of course, I vote! I want to be a part of it,” she said.

Posted with the permission of Vinfen. Thanks to Asela Jayasinghe for sharing this wonderful story.

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Join as us we work to REV UP the vote!

Posted in | Posted on July 2, 2018 | Leave a comment Continue reading

Leo’s Letter: #TheArcVotes: Join Us As We REV UP The Vote!

On Monday, Julie Heffernan and I announced the launch of our #TheArcVotes campaign at The Arc of Massachusetts with a short Facebook Live that talked about why we vote and how elected officials shape the services and resources that all of us, including people with disabilities, need.

Elected officials choose administrators and policies for our public schools, including special education services; and they also determine the access to adult services when students turn 22 years old – whether they receive employment, personal care attendants, transportation, housing, or other key resources.

This year, changes to both Medicaid and food assistance have been debated in Congress. For example, tomorrow (Friday, June 22), the House of Representatives (DC) will vote for the second time on a proposed bill that would cut off or reduce basic food assistance under the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) for roughly 2 million people across the nation. Jim Kruidenier of Stavros ILC has commented on his exposure to stories about the lack of food for many people with disabilities in our state. In 2007, Congressman Jim McGovern lived on the food stamp allowance to demonstrate its inadequacy.

Health care, education, personal care, and income assistance are all pretty significant items for one’s life – especially if you have a disability.

But it’s also our duty to vote. As Susan B. Anthony once stated, “How can the consent of the governed be given if the right to vote is denied?” Similarly, how long will our power to have consent continue if citizens don’t vote? In 2014, only 40% of those registered voted. During Presidential election years, we may hit 60% turnout. But 21% of the eligible population doesn’t even register, bringing those numbers down further.

The Pew Charitable Foundation ordered a study in 2016 to see why millions don’t vote that is worth reading. Make sure you are registered, and if not, you have until August 15 to register for our September primaries, and registration for the November election is open until October 17.

It’s our duty to vote – and your vote, along with your civic participation, does make a difference. Learn more on the official #TheArcVotes site.





Leo V. Sarkissian
Executive Director

Posted in , , | Posted on June 21, 2018 | Leave a comment Continue reading

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