I am a husband, father, son, brother, uncle and friend. I believe in sharing my talents and experiences by giving back to the community by giving my time to coaching, church and especially to the disability community. I truly believe that all men and women are created equally.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
I feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that the special needs voucher was not included in the State budget. I, along with a group of fellow Wisconsin residents worked very hard at advocating to have this removed from the budget. We did not have an out of state lobbying group helping us, we just had hard working and dedicated families who felt this piece of legislation was a bad idea We know that this fight is not over. We know that it will come up again sometime down the road. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, I have been fighting against this going back 2 or 3 years now, so I know it will be back.
It is now time to start my next goal. That goal is to have some sort of picture ballots or just pictures of the candidates at the polls for individuals to utilize when voting. My goal is to have this in place by the time my son is eligible to vote in a couple of years. I don’t know if my son can read, but I know that he can make his own decisions when it comes to choices. To facilitate his choices, we give him pictures of his choices and he makes his decisions at home, why not at the polls. I know that some states have begun testing some technology that could accommodate this idea.
As I have talked about this idea with people, they really like it. The more I talked about the idea with people, the more I realized that this would benefit more than just individuals with disabilities. It can help those where English is the second language. It can help those who struggle to read. It can help people make better decisions when it comes to voting. Have you ever gone to the polls and couldn’t remember the name of a candidate in a lesser publicized race, but you remember what they look like?
I know that the idea has been floated before the Government Accountability Board (GAB) by somebody that I shared the idea with. In the last couple of weeks, I learned that a friend that I participated in Partners in PolicyMaking with last year now sits on the GAB Accessibility Committee. He very much likes the idea.
I have mentioned this idea to both of my elected officials, Sen Chris Larson and Rep Christine Sinicki, they both like the idea. When I brought the idea up during the Partner’s training last year, there was a lot of agreement, and my classmates have been planting seeds with their local elected officials. Many voices from around the State on one idea.
I have thought of some of the questions that may come up and how I would answer them. The 3 most common are:
If somebody needs pictures to vote, then they should vote early. Everybody has a right to experience what it is like to vote in person. Anyone who says that voting is not an experience is probably not voting for the right reasons.
What is the cost? I’m not sure yet, but I think that with technology what it is today, that cost could be minimal.
Pictures could influence a voter because of race. An informed voter already knows the race of the candidate, so it should not matter if there is a picture available or not.
I know that this is not going to be easy, but it is something that I believe in and I am up for the challenge.