What is the purpose of #CripTheVote?
#CripTheVote is a nonpartisan campaign to engage both voters and politicians in a productive discussion about disability issues in the United States, with the hope that Disability takes on greater prominence within the American political landscape. We hope to encourage people with disabilities to engage with elections at all levels from President on down, and to vote. We also want candidates to engage with disability policy issues and disabled people as much as possible.
What is "CripTheVote" supposed to mean?
Basically, it is a catchy way of referring to the idea of disabled people being active voters and through their collective power, forcing important disability issues into the mainstream.
Why do you use the word "Crip"? Isn't that offensive?
We realize the word "Crip" isn't for everyone, but we chose it for several reasons. Read more about that here.
What can I do if I don’t use Twitter?
You don't need a Twitter account if you want to follow the conversation happening in real-time. At any time, you can check this link. This link will show all the tweets that use the CripTheVote hashtag and you can scroll up and down to read all the comments.
Don’t laugh, but what, exactly, is a “Twitter Chat?” And while we’re at it, what’s a “hashtag?”
A Twitter Chat is a public discussion that uses a hashtag as a virtual meeting point on Twitter. A hashtag is a way of making tweets more easily searchable. By using the hashtag (in this case #CripTheVote) one can find all of the tweets on a particular subject in one place by either clicking on the hashtag or using twitter’s search function. For an example of what a Twitter chat looks like, check out this example by Ruti Regan. It’s very helpful explaining the elements of a typical Twitter chat.
What if I can't keep up with the questions during a Twitter chat?
It's fine to tweet at your own pace. We post our questions in advance in case folks want to prepare. Also, we don't expect folks to have to keep up. Our questions are spaced 4-5 minutes in advance but people can reply at their own leisure. There's no wrong way to participate in a chat. You're welcome to tweet before, during and after the scheduled time. We also suggest you read this guide to using Twitter for discussions and advocacy.
What does posting Twitter comments with the #CripTheVote hashtag accomplish?
The way Twitter hashtags work, individual participation collects all of our comments and ideas into a noticeable voice with a chance of being noticed outside the already engaged disability activist community. It’s also a convenient way to get us all talking and sharing ideas amongst ourselves. In a more concrete way, it could prompt candidates and political reporters engage publicly with specific disability-related questions. If enough people are using a particular hashtag at a given time, Twitter will identify it as trending which garners even more attention from both the media and other Twitter users.
When should I use the #CripTheVote hashtag?
Include it in tweets about elections, voting, and issues at any level, if it is also in some way related to disability. That could mean comments about particular candidate or political party platform positions on disability issues, candidates’ rhetoric and behavior towards disabled people, questions disabled voters want to ask candidates, policy proposals and bills that would affect disabled people, and ideas for encouraging candidates and journalists to engage with disability issues and disabled voters.
May I argue for my favorite candidate under the #CripTheVote hashtag?
Sure! This effort is non-partisan. We aren’t going to endorse candidates or try to make one look better than the others, but that doesn’t mean you have to keep your own preferences secret. Feel free to make your case. Just remember that we want to keep this these discussions respectful and broadly focused on disability-related issues and voting by disabled people. So, if you are going to publicize a candidate, make sure to explain the relevance to disability issues, such as the candidate’s record or positions on disability policy questions.
Why focus on voting by disabled people?
Americans with disabilities could become a very powerful constituency of voters. But currently, we are punching below our weight. While over 16 million people with disabilities voted in the 2016 elections, voter turnout rate of people with disabilities was 6 percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities. Meanwhile, the voter registration rate of people with disabilities was 2 percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities. That is a lot of untapped political power. (Fact sheet: Disability and Voter Turnout in the 2016 Elections Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse, Rutgers University).
What actually happens, and when?
The signature activity of #CripTheVote is Twitter Chats on topics related both to elections, and to specific disability policy issues. However, people contribute comments, information, questions, and links to articles on disability issues every day under the #CripTheVote hashtag. Every day there’s something to read, and all are invited to contribute to the ongoing #CripTheVote discussion of disability, politics, policy, identity, and voting.
All you need to do is compose a tweet with the event or initiative's particulars, including its goals and what people can do to help, and include in the tweet #CripTheVote. You don't need permission, and you can do it yourself at any time. Just make sure the event is broadly consistent with the theme of disability issues, activism, and politics. A great way to squeeze more detailed information and background material into a single tweet is to post it all on a webpage with a web address, and simply include the web address in your tweet. Viewers can then click on the link and see your information on a webpage in their browser.
Who can I talk to if I have any questions?
You may email questions to: