by Andy Rausch and Joe Reinecker
SKIL CEO and President Shari Coatney took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to sit down and talk about the importance of voting in the disabled community.
So why is it important for the disabled to vote?
“Obviously it's our civil right and our responsibility to vote for those whom we feel can best represent us, but that's the corny politically-correct answer,” Coatney said. “The reality is that our lives really do depend on it. Justin Dart (father of the ADA) said, 'Vote like your life depends on it, because it usually does.' That's especially true here in Kansas, where we've seen the effects of what voting in the wrong politicians can do. Our lives have been extremely affected by the outcomes of those elections over the last decade, and we have paid the price severely. Especially when it comes to social services, which affect the disabled, children, and the elderly.
“The people who have really been affected by those things, who have really felt that bite, need to know it's time to take the power back by showing up to vote.” said Coatney. “They need to not just show up and vote, but they also need to be educated about who they're voting for. They need to let people know what their issues are and how they feel about things, and then they have to vote. Those are important things because again, our lives depend on it and our quality of life is going to be affected. And do I believe people may have died as a consequence of the people who have been elected? I absolutely do. People have had to fight so hard to get on Medicaid or to get insurance and to get access to medical services, that I do believe there are people who have died. There are people who have waited so long, and even fallen off the waiting list for services and were forgotten when there were changes to the social services program. And now people are still waiting for services and don't get referred for free services or don't have access to programs that can help them get by until they get the services they need.
“I'm certain people have died and fallen through the cracks,” said Coatney. “It's insane that people with disabilities now have to wait ten years to access the services they need. And these are the reasons that it's imperative that we, the disabled community, get out there and vote.”
Many people say they don't vote because they don't know how to vote or they don't know if they are registered to vote. Don't let these questions be the reason you don't vote. Both of these questions can be answered easily at the following link: Ksvotes.org. Early voting ballots can also be obtained there so you don't even have to leave your house.