In our effort to make sure that as many voters with disabilities can and do vote this Thursday, here are some ideas on how to help overcome barriers to transportation:
- If you need para-transit to get to the polling station, book your ride right now. If you are told that space is not available, contact senior management at the para-transit service and urge them to arrange for extra vehicles and drivers on election day. If they refuse, report this to the media and to us.
- If you are not eligible for para-transit, or if there is no para-transit in your area, contact one of the candidates running in your riding to ask for a ride to the polling station. Let them know right now that you will need a lift on Thursday, voting day. If your disability requires any accommodation, let them know that right now as well. You need not contact the candidate from the party you are going to vote for. Remember that your vote is a secret vote. You need not tell anyone who you will be voting for.
- If you can, offer other voters with disabilities and seniors any help you can give to get them to the polling station, and to assist them with voting.
- Visit a nearby seniors' residence and talk to the management to ensure that they have made arrangements for their residents to vote.
Even though there may be barriers between us and that polling booth, we must not be deterred. It is important that as many voters with disabilities exercise their basic democratic right to vote.
We are pleased to let you know that there is scheduled to be an item on the Ontarians with Disabilities Act on the TV show Studio 2, on TV Ontario right across the province, June 2. The program runs from 8 to 9 p.m. and then is re-run from 11 p.m. to midnight. I am told it will be closed-captioned. The item on the ODA should run near the end of the hour, but tune in for the whole show in case it runs earlier.
There is schedule to be a a phone-in for a large part of the hour, devoted to education issues. You are encouraged to phone in and talk about barriers to education facing people with disabilities. I do not know if there is a guest appearing for the phone-in portion of the show. The ODA portion is pre-taped.