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United Cerebral Palsy Launches DontBlockMyVote.org

Launched Wednesday, United Cerebral Palsy's online campaign,www.DontBlockMyVote.org, allows activists to send a free letter to their Congressmen calling for full funding of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA), which guarantees equal access to polling places and voting machines for millions of Americans with disabilities. With the last Presidential election hinging on a little over 500 votes, the potential disenfranchisement of 26 million voters with disabilities is an important and significant cause, and the lack of full funding for HAVA could greatly swing a potentially close election. UCP is also in partnership with Rock the Vote, calling on people to register for this year’s elections
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(Washington, DC) – United Cerebral Palsy (UCP) recently launched www.DontBlockMyVote.org , a national campaign for equal access to the polls, to call on members of Congress to fully fund the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA).

By logging on to www.DontBlockMyVote.org activists can send a free letter to their Members of Congress asking them to fully fund HAVA and provide all Americans equal access to the polls. Congress is currently negotiating the 2005 budget.

Additionally, through a partnership with Rock the Vote, visitors to www.DontBlockMyVote.org can use an online voter registration tool to register to vote.

“Too many Americans with disabilities cannot exercise their constitutional right to vote because polling places are inaccessible to those who use wheelchairs, voting machines are inaccessible to people who are blind or have limited use of their hands, and ballots are inaccessible to people with limited literacy skills,? said UCP President and CEO Stephen Bennett.

Despite initial efforts to correct problems widely publicized during the 2000 election, Congress has yet to back up HAVA with appropriate funding, effectively denying millions of Americans with disabilities equal access to the ballot. President Bush requested only $65 million for HAVA in his 2005 fiscal year budget, though HAVA authorizes $650 million. As of April 2004, only 18% of the total funds authorized for HAVA have been disbursed according to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.

HAVA requires states to provide at least one accessible voting machine at each polling place. The legislation also sets aside funding for polling place accommodations, outreach programs, training for election officials, and technology research grants.

“With more than 45 million eligible voters with disabilities in the United States, members of both parties ought to make voting accessibility a priority,? added Stephen Bennett. “We implore Congress to fully fund the Help America Vote Act to ensure all Americans can participate in the electoral process.?

About United Cerebral Palsy

United Cerebral Palsy is one of the nation’s leading organizations serving and advocating for the more than 54 million Americans with disabilities. Most UCP consumers are people with disabilities other than cerebral palsy. Through its nationwide network, United Cerebral Palsy offers services to individuals, families and communities such as job training and placement, physical therapy, individual and family support, early intervention, social and recreation programs, community living, state and local referrals, and instruction on how to use technology to perform everyday tasks. For more information, visit www.ucp.org or call (800) 872-5827.
 
 


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