“Rucker is a gifted observer-humorist, unleashing a straight-arrow honesty and a vibrant, penetrating wit while probing the most intimate aspects of contemporary life and human behavior…” (Publisher Weekly)
Mr. Rucker lectures widely on the subject of living with disability. He is also a contributing editor to “New Mobility” magazine and the chairman of the Writers With Disabilities Committee at the WGA. He lives in LA with wife, Ann. They have two sons.
You learn something new every day and today – Election Day, 2012 – I learned something that made my life just a little easier: curbside voting. This means, at least in the state of California and many, many other places, that all you have to do as a wheelchair user is drive up or be driven up to your polling place, call a number listed in front on your cell phone, and a voting official will come out to your car with a ballot and you fill it out right there. Having voted in every major election in California, this is the first time I’ve been offered this option. It was as easy as ordering from McDonald’s, ie, pretty darn easy.
I immediately came home and checked to see how widespread this drive-by voting is in America. According to the General Accounting Office (GAO), 56% of all voting places “with one or more potential impediments” for people with disabilities offer curbside voting. On the other hand, 28% of voting places with such impediments don’t offer this convenience. That’s of course an outrage, and probably discourages many with disabilities from voting. The only choice for those people in most situations is a mail-in ballot and that takes its own amount of effort.
I’m writing this at 11:03 in the morning on the West Coast which means anyone reading it still has time to go vote if you haven’t already done so. If you can’t wheel down to your voting station and don’t drive, call a friend and ask them to pick you up and take you to vote curbside. In many states each political party has a phone number where someone will drive you to the polls to vote. In Minnesota, for instance, either call the Republican number -- email@example.com or 651-222-0022 – or the Democratic number -- firstname.lastname@example.org or 651-222-0022. And since you can register to vote on the same day and at the same place in many states – Iowa and New Hampshire, for instance – you just might be able to register to vote and vote without ever leaving the comfort of your car or van.
The long-term trend in voting is total accessibility. We’re a long way from that point now but an advance like curbside voting is another crack in the wall. If you can, drive on by and vote. You’ll be glad you did.