NESCA has unexpected availability for Neuropsychological Evaluations and ASD Diagnostic Clinic assessments in the Plainville, MA office in the next several weeks! Our expert pediatric neuropsychologists in Plainville specialize in children ages 18 months to 26 years, with attentional, communication, learning, or developmental differences, including those with a history or signs of ADHD, ASD, Intellectual Disability, and complex medical histories. To book an evaluation or inquire about our services in Plainville (approx.45 minutes from NESCA Newton), complete our Intake Form.

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ballot

Election Season: Everyone has a Voice

By | NESCA Notes 2022

By: Tabitha Monahan, M.A., CAGS, CRC
NESCA Transition Specialist/Counselor

Election season is upon us once again, and it’s time to let EVERYONE have a voice! In fact, September 12 – 16 is Disability Voting Rights Week.

There’s good news on the voting front. According to Disability Research at Rutgers University and the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC), 62% of individuals with disabilities voted in the 2020 election, an uptick from previous elections that is thought to be due to the increased availability of voting options, such as mail-in and early voting. There was also a significant decrease in the number of people with disabilities who had difficulties voting in 2020 down from 26% to 11%. If you want to learn more about voter turnout by individuals with disabilities, read more in the fact sheet found here.

While numbers are heading in the right direction, we’d still like to help our young people with disabilities exercise their right to vote. In Massachusetts, even individuals with guardianship maintain their right to vote unless the court documents specifically state otherwise. There are many ways to support individuals, but it starts with helping them register. Massachusetts residents can register to vote online, when obtaining or renewing a driver’s license or state ID, or at the local registrar of voters’ office. Notices from MassHealth and the Department of Transitional Assistance (DTA) also include voter registration forms.

Absentee/mail-in ballots have been in the news more than ever due to the pandemic. Every registered voter should have received a postcard/mailing to request an absentee or mail-in ballot.

All citizens are also allowed to bring a person to help them while they are at the polls. Encourage your young person by letting them know that many people require assistance at the polls, and it is completely normal to have someone help them if they need it. Each polling location should also have at least one AutoMARK Voter Assist Terminal, which helps individuals with visual impairments vote independently.

No one wants their vote not to be counted due to errors filling out their ballot. People can request a sample ballot in advance from their local registrar of voters (the Secretary of State’s website can give you the address and phone number of your local registrar). Practicing filling out ballots in advance (even ballots from previous elections) can help a new voter become comfortable with the form and is great fine motor skill practice for those who may need it!

The Massachusetts Secretary of State also creates a voter information booklet for each election regarding the ballot initiatives. Starting in early October, these red booklets can be found at many community locations, such as local libraries, post offices and city/town halls. These booklets offer information on what a yay or nay vote would mean and have information from each initiative’s proponents and opponents. Use that sample ballot as a starting point for the different types of ballot questions and elected positions.

Keep in mind the key dates and deadlines for voting in this fall’s elections in Massachusetts are as follows:

  • Voter Registration Deadline: October 29, 2022
  • Vote by Mail Application Deadline: November 1, 2022
  • Early Voting: October 22 – November 4, 2022
  • Election Day Polling Hours:7:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Help your young adult find out what the different roles of government boards do and why there is an election for things such as Auditor, Attorney General, and Governor’s council. Help them find the websites for candidates running for office and review the candidates’ stances on issues. Ask what issues they want to learn more about and are important to them. This fall, Massachusetts voters will be casting their votes for a large lineup of roles to fill, with the following positions on the ballot. You can learn more about who is running for state offices at https://revupma.org/wp/2022-ma-races/.

  • Representatives in Congress (Federal)
  • Governor
  • Lieutenant Governor
  • Attorney General
  • Secretary of State
  • State Treasurer
  • State Auditor
  • Governor’s Council
  • State Senators
  • State Representative
  • District Attorney (District Level may or may not be the same as your county)
  • Sheriff (County Level)
  • County Commissioner (County Level only in certain counties)
  • Ballot Questions

Most importantly, remind them that their voice counts. As many disability rights activists have said, “nothing about us without us.” Individuals with disabilities are greatly affected by the policy decisions that occur in government at all levels. Since many individuals with disabilities have frequently experienced disenfranchisement, there are numerous groups working tirelessly to lessen and remove these barriers. How have you helped your young adult exercise their right to vote?

Important Links:

 

About the Author

Tabitha Monahan, M.A., CAGS, CRC, is an experienced transition evaluator and vocational counselor. While she is well-versed in supporting a wide range of transition-aged youth, she is especially passionate and knowledgeable in helping clients and their families navigate the complex systems of adult services and benefits as well as medical and mental health systems. She is further adept in working individually with students of all abilities to empower self-advocacy and goal achievement.

 

To schedule an appointment with one of NESCA’s expert transition specialists or neuropsychologists, please complete our online intake form

 

Neuropsychology & Education Services for Children & Adolescents (NESCA) is a pediatric neuropsychology practice and integrative treatment center with offices in Newton and Plainville, Massachusetts, and Londonderry, New Hampshire, serving clients from preschool through young adulthood and their families. For more information, please email info@nesca-newton.com or call 617-658-9800.