Wednesday | December 8, 2021

Event Overview

Co-sponsored by The Century Foundation and the Albert Shanker Institute.

One in four people in the United States have a disability, making the disabled community one of the largest voting blocs in our country. Yet, they are underserved and face enormous challenges in exercising their right to vote, from polling place accessibility issues to guardianship laws, and more. At the same time, states are increasingly restricting access to voting for all Americans.

U.S. Senator Tammy Duckworth and a distinguished group of experts discussed the threat to voting rights and why it is critical to protect them, especially for people with disabilities, and what Congress is considering doing to protect voting rights for all Americans.


Welcome Remarks

Ralph Neas, Senior counsel on voting rights, The Century Foundation

Keynote Speakers

Judith (Judy) Heumann, Disability rights advocate

Maria Town, President and CEO, American Association of People with Disabilities


Wade Henderson, Interim president and CEO, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights


The Honorable Tammy Duckworth, United States Senator (D-IL)

Mia Ives-Rublee, Director, disability justice initiative, Center for American Progress

Lisa A. Schur, Professor, labor studies and employment relations (LSER); director, program for disability research, Rutgers University

Mary Cathryn Ricker, Executive Director, Albert Shanker Institute

Blog Series on Voting Rights and Disability Rights

This ongoing blog series is part of the Shanker Institute’s continuing effort to strengthen our democracy in the face of existential threats.

Fighting for Disability Rights is Fighting for Democracy: Shanker Institute and AFT President Randi Weingarten argues that disability rights are civil rights, and that it's up to all of us to speak out alongside the disability community for accessibility in registration, polling places, and transportation to the polls.
Randi Weingarten | Dec. 22, 2021

The Intersection of Disability Rights and Voting Rights: Guest author Norman Hill, a lifelong activist in the Civil Rights and Labor movements who served as the president of the A. Philip Randolph Institute from 1980 to 2004, who is now blind, talks about the intersection of voting rights and disability rights.
Norman Hill | Dec. 9, 2021

I Voted: Guest author, Rui Rui Bleifuss, a first-time voter and disability activist and senior at Highland Park Senior High School in St. Paul, MN, shares her experience at the ballot box and demonstrates how disability rights are voting rights, too.
Rui Rui Bleifuss | Dec. 8, 2021