It’s All in the Numbers – Part 2

Read Part 1 Here: It’s all in the Numbers: A Report About Voter Registration For Individuals with Disabilities Part 1

Earlier this week we posted a story about voter registration for individuals with disabilities.

Harrrisburg Skyline (MARK PYNES, The Patriot-News/file)

After delaying the release of part two due to a number of factors associated with the story, below is the second part edited from the original submission.

As part two of the story, readers will notice and or comment on the lack of a statement from Department of Sate Officials.

That is because after a number of attempted contacts with the DOS , we have  yet  to successfully speak with an officials there.

This should is  not to be seen as a” no comment,”  on the part of DOS, but having more to do with the transition taking place from one administration to another

BuxMontNews.con  expects to speak with the DOS  to get an official comment, however, an exact date has not been determined.

In the meanwhile after much debate and conversation about the release of part two, it was decided that since everything associated with the article is public record and accessible from a number of credible sources the rest of the article should to be released.

Please see below for part two and additional resources about voter registration for all individuals who are Pennsylvania residents and other important information and resources pertaining to the disability community.

(part two)

….So what of the nonprofits and other offices the NVRA Law covers?

The data shows a trend that’s inescapable when reviewing the numbers. County Assistance Offices-which provide services such as food stamps, cash benefits and state Medicaid, outperform their cohort’ consistently. The trend is worth noting for a number of reasons but as O’Hanlon said, they are just as bad as the non-profits, “How many people do you think your local county assistance offices services on a yearly basis?” he exhorted with frustration in his voice, “thousands and they register how many people?”

425 is the actual answer.

Temple University Professor Mark Salzer studies community integration, through the school’s Collaborative of Community Inclusion for Individuals with Psychiatric disabilities. Salzer in an interview with WHYY said recently, “Service providers and residential programs do not provide the supports in their residences to get out there and vote.”

In a follow-up phone interview, Salzer elaborated on his statement to WHYY, saying, “I don’t want to say that all non-profits aren’t supporting those with mental illnesses and psychiatric disabilities to register.  It’s my sense that in general these efforts are infrequent and that most agencies don’t do this…don’t support or encourage people to register.  It’s a part of a general lack of supporting individuals with these disabilities to be citizens in the community in general, and voting is just one aspect of being a citizen.”

In response to voting registration initiatives that start prior to an election cycle, Salzer offered up his observation that he doesn’t even think that a majority of those agencies helping individuals with disabilities”… do it.” In general there isn’t a lot of attention paid to citizenship and promoting overall engagement in the community which includes voting.” Salzer said.

Salzer continued saying,  “the Temple Collaborative on Community Inclusion encourages agencies and programs to talk those they serve not only about treatment and recovery related issues, but to ask about their civic engagement encouraging activity and participation in the community as much as possible, because it facilitates recovery.

When asked if the Collaborative had any initiatives planned around registration and voting issues, Salzer said, “We see our job as consultants with providing technical support around issues related to community integration,” of those with disabilities.

Recently the DVC  petitioned the Department of State asking for an internal audit and review to be conducted. O’Hanlon, in the waning moments of the interview, said that “the real problem is we have a law on the books, and there is no consequence to anyone anywhere, for its lack of application.”  Steadfast, he continued, saying aloud, “laws are meant to be applied, and that’s why we are asking for the audit, these agencies aren’t doing what they’re supposed to and we ( DRN and DRC) want the DOS to intervene.”

On June 30th the Department of State will give it’s final report to the Pennsylvania General Assembly on voter registrations for 2010.

Till then….

The numbers tell the story.

 The Department of State is here

This DOS can help with issues  related to voter registration  for citizens of Pennsylvania.

The Disability Voters Coalition of Pennsylvania is here

They are a non-profit that advocates and educates the general public about issues surrounding voting and disabilities.

The Disability Rights Network is  here And they are a non-profit that educates and assists individuals with disabilities.

The Temple University Collaborative on Community Inclusion of Individuals with Psychiatric Disabilities is here

They provide technical assistance, training, and research on issues advocating for the inclusion and recovery of people with mental health challenges.

The National Voters Registration Act

Special thanks, and editing credit to Temple University Instructor Lawrence B.  Hanover,  Journalism Department.

Jeff Bohen (
Staff Reporter -Writer



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