Advocacy is supporting – and working for – a cause.
It took many people advocating for the passage of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) before it could become law. Because of this advocacy, it is now illegal to discriminate against people with disabilities in employment, transportation, public accommodations, communications, and access to state and local government programs and services.
Two important ways are Voting and Communicating with elected officials at the local, state and federal levels.
PADS members and supporters do both these activities.
The right to vote is fundamental to democracy. To vote in Iowa you must be a resident of Iowa and a US citizen. You must be 18 or older on or before election day. You must also be registered to vote.
The Iowa Secretary of State’s website has all the information you need to learn about registration and other aspects of voting: https://sos.iowa.gov/elections/voterinformation/index.html.
The information includes answers to specific questions many people with disabilities have about the voting process: Voting with Disabilities (iowa.gov)
Remember, however, that if you ever have any questions that the website doesn’t answer, you can call the Linn County Auditor’s office at 319-892-5300. They are always happy to help.
In addition to voting, citizens have the right to express their opinions to elected officials about current laws and policies as well as legislation that is being proposed. It is especially important that people with disabilities do this because sometimes elected officials do not understand enough about how current and proposed laws affect people with disabilities.
Fortunately, it is easier than ever these days to communicate with local, state, and federal officials. In fact, Linn County has an Election Lookup Tool that has email and business addresses of all the officials you might want to reach: https://www.linncountyelections.org/lookup/ . Click on this link to check it out. If you enter your house number and then click search, street addresses matching your house number will appear. You can then find your actual address and click on that. The site will then give your election and precinct information, followed the names and contact information of your federal, state, county, city, and school officials. Contact information can include email addresses, phone numbers, and websites.
Tips for calling, writing letters, and emailing