Davenport, IA (KWQC) According to a Rutgers University study on voter turnout in 2013, nearly 15 million people with disabilities voted in the 2012 election. St. Ambrose representatives want that number to increase this election season. There are still people within the disabled community who feel that their vote doesn’t matter. St. Ambrose partnered with the Iowa Disability Voter Coalition to persuade the community that their voice does matter.
The goal is to give those with a mental or physical disability a voice, a chance to be heard and a chance to participate in one of the most controversial elections we’ve ever seen. St. Ambrose student representative Sarah Wurster says anyone can vote despite their circumstances.
“Everyone can vote it’s just a matter of giving them the resources they need to help them take that step,” said Wurster.
Sarah has worked with those who have disabilities in the past. She says working for the Vera French Mental Health Facility this past summer really opened up her eyes to help those who think they don’t have a voice, believe they could.
Another advocate for the forum was Peggy Grell, and a speaker at the event, was diagnosed with a mental disability in 2000. She says this forum will benefit the community a great deal, and hopes the government officials value this event and realize that the disabled community does matter.
“So if I can vote and know the issues, I think we can help a lot of the people that come tonight, that are mentally ill or physically disabled to help them with their voice,” said Grell.
She says she also wants people to feel how she felt when she first stepped in a voting both during a major election before her diagnoses 16 years ago.
“To know that when I went in to vote, to know that I am actually participating in an election, it’s powerful to vote for the president of the United States how could you get more prestigious then that,” Grell said.