photo caption: Three diverse individuals – one with cerebral palsy and one with spina bifida seated in a wheelchair – holding signs saying “Earn My Vote.” (Photo courtesy of RespectAbility)

As early voting begins in several states, the disability rights nonprofit RespectAbility releases its first edition of the 2020 Disability Voters Guide, which highlights presidential candidates’ responses to the 2020 Disability Candidate Questionnaire.

RespectAbility has invited all candidates in the presidential race on both sides of the aisle to submit answers to the questionnaire, which covers some of the most important issues impacting people with disabilities including employment, education, immigration, criminal justice and accessibility.

Several high-profile candidates recently submitted responses, RespectAbility notes in a media release:

According to the 2018 Annual Disability Statistics Compendium, there are 20,444,249 working-age (ages 18-64) people with disabilities in the US. Just 7,572,805 have jobs.

“Stigma is still a driving factor in why two-thirds of people with disabilities are unemployed,” says RespectAbility’s VP Lauren Appelbaum, who also is the managing editor of The RespectAbility Report, in the release. “There is no better way to disprove that idea than by presidential candidates including people with disabilities in their campaigns as staffers and consultants, as well as by ensuring they have well-thought-out disability policy plans.”

“The disability community is unique,” adds Philip Kahn-Pauli, associate editor of The RespectAbility Report. “It is the only minority group anyone can join at any time due to illness, injury or aging. People with disabilities live in every state, and the community’s interests intersect with so many issues, including race, gender, poverty, criminal justice and inequality.”

According to a Rutgers University study, 14.3 million citizens with disabilities voted in 2018. Those voters will be crucial as candidates vie for the presidency, as well as down-ballot elections.

[Source(s): RespectAbility, PR Newswire]