The CDC informs that one-fourth of Americans have a type of disability, however, disabled people are massively underrepresented in government, at every level – from local to state to federal office. In honor of National Disabilities Awareness Month, we’ve put together a list of strategies that can support people with disabilities plan their campaign for office.
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How You Can Run a Successful Campaign
We cannot exaggerate the power of representation. When disabled people run for office, they are enabled as the voice of their community because everyone deserves to have their needs acknowledged and spoken for. If you’re ready to be the change your community needs, and consider running for office, here are a few tips that will help you rise to the challenge.
Assemble Your Support Team
Building a supportive and erudite team will make all the difference in your result. When looking for team members to help you with the campaign, ensure you get a manager, a financial advisor, and a PR expert. The latter is especially important as they will need to deliver your messages the way you want them to be heard and help you with your campaign’s communication aspects. Public relations are especially imperative during a campaign as they can attract more voters, recruit volunteers, retain existing staff, reduce various costs, help you to relay your message with clarity, and so on.
Messaging and overall communications are critical to a successful platform, which is why you need to work with a specialist who can handle media, speaking events, press releases, and social media. Because your campaign won’t go on forever, consider hiring a freelance PR expert to help you with your platform.
Build Your Knowledge
When running for office, you need to ask as many questions as possible. You need as much information as you can get to run a successful campaign, and if you win, to know how things work. Also, make sure you discuss with those already in the government to understand the limits you have for certain things you want to change. You cannot promise voters something only to disclose later on when chosen that you went ahead of yourself and cannot fulfill your pledges. Also, ask people who had run for office in the past about their challenges, how they defeat them, and gain other relevant information.
Another way to build your knowledge is to earn a doctorate degree in a relevant field. Earning your degree online can help you distinguish yourself and your candidacy, and you’ll have the flexibility to keep preparing for your campaign as you learn.
Figure Out Your Vote Goal
You are running for office to win, but that doesn’t mean you must get everyone to vote for you. You just need a certain number of more votes than your competitor — so how many votes is that? To calculate it, find the turnout numbers from the last couple of similar elections and average them — then multiply the resulting number by the registered voters’ number in your area. You’ll want to get over 50 percent of that number.
Fill Out the Necessary Forms
Before you run for office, you must get on the ballot so people can vote for you. This means you need to go through a process of forms, applications, and other data, and you have to respect all the deadlines imposed. Because jurisdiction is a crucial aspect of what your precise operation will look like, you need to do your research and verify with your region’s elections website and other relevant websites to see what you need to do to register on the ballot. From these websites, you should be able to download the forms and other materials you need to find the deadlines.
The Bottom Line
There is a clear need to support people with disabilities to run for office — and there’s also a definite need to provide the materials, tools, and necessary training to enable these campaigns. By having more impaired people in the office, Americans will see that those who society considers weak are active and competent participants of it.
Image Source: Pexels
Written by: Erin Reynolds