Guest Blogger: Rebecca S. E. McGuire, Ph.D.
Chief Philanthropy Officer
UCP of Southwest Florida in Clewiston updates voter registration.
“REV UP” is a national campaign led by The American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD). REV UP is the acronym for “Register, Educate, Vote and Use yourPower.” The goal is to promote and ensure that people with disabilities are fully participating in the political process. UCP of Southwest Florida strongly supports self-advocacy and self-determination. Community inclusion is an innate part of our mission and UCP works with state and national coalitions on effective, non-partisan campaigns to eliminate barriers to voting, promote accessibility of voting technology and polling places; educate voters about issues and candidates; promote turnout of voters with disabilities across the country; engage candidates and the media on disability issues, and protect eligible voters’ right to participate in elections.
As part of that effort, on June 9, 2016, Clewiston’s Adult Day Training Centerhosted a legislative advocacy program featuring a voting demonstration from Hendry County. Program participants met their local candidates, ensured their respective voter registrations were up to date, and engaged in practicing their voting skills with the help of, Ms. Brenda Hoots, Supervisor of Elections of Hendry County.
An added surprise to the REV UP activities included participants from the Cape Coral who were able to engage in the legislative advocacy activities thanks to the commitment of Brenda Hoots on behalf of those individuals we support. Her phone call was all it took to get a mock voting booth set up and to ensure that a number of local candidates were available to assist in educating our voters about non-partisan campaigns and to educate them about the safety that Hendry County has in place to eliminate barriers to voting.
Janet B. Taylor, County Commissioner District 1, Kim Ross, candidate for the Hendry County School Board, and Mali Gardner, City Commissioner, all provided insightful information about their platforms and the importance of the services for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities.
This was a terrific event that demonstrated the commitment of the community leaders of Clewiston to individuals of all abilities and to every member of the community.