WASHINGTON - September 14 - With the Presidential election less than 50 days away, the Bush Administration and Congress have failed to back up the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) with adequate funding, further delaying equal access to the polls for millions of Americans with disabilities.
So far, more than 10,000 letters have been sent to Congress asking lawmakers to fully fund HAVA, heeding the call of the United Cerebral Palsy DontBlockMyVote.org campaign.
DontBlockMyVote.org now is urging supporters to directly call on the Bush Administration to back $650 million in the FY 2005 budget for the implementation of HAVA, not a dollar more than the law itself authorizes.
President Bush only requested $65 million for HAVA for 2005, just 10 percent of the funds authorized. States simply will not implement the law without the resources promised by the federal government and 75 percent of all counties in the United States will be using the same voting machines they used in the controversial 2000 election.
When President Bush signed HAVA into law on October 29, 2002, he said, "Every registered voter deserves to have confidence that the system is fair and elections are honest, that every vote is recorded, and that the rules are consistently applied."
HAVA calls for every polling place to be accessible and have at least one accessible voting machine, yet millions of Americans with disabilities will continue to be disenfranchised if President Bush and Congress fail to live up to the promises made when HAVA was passed.
"The time has come for the President and Congress to back rhetoric with action. Provide full funding to the Help America Vote Act now," said Stephen Bennett, UCP President and CEO.
DontBlockMyVote.org will also make an aggressive push to register people with disabilities, as well as their families and friends, to vote. In many states, September is the last month for citizens to register to vote for the November election.
Using a simple online registration tool created in partnership with Rock the Vote, anyone can register to vote in a few easy steps by visiting http://www.DontBlockMyVote.org
"The right to vote simply is non-negotiable," said Stephen Bennett. "It is a fundamental element of democracy and of our vision for an inclusive society. And the community of people with disabilities will accept no less."
To learn more about the campaign, visit http://www.DontBlockMyVote.org