April marks Autism Awareness Month, providing an opportunity to inform the public about autism, and about what it means to live with autism. This month-long event builds community, understanding, and support for those on the spectrum.

Autism Awareness Month also reminds us about the importance of recognizing disabilities populations, both visible and invisible. Between 19% and 26% of Americans live with some form of disability, and those statistics are not necessarily static because of continued growth as the population ages and as some become temporarily disabled. Disability status also overlaps with other populations, including other minority populations, and with all identities including race, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion, ethnicity and national origin, and age.

When thinking about a mission to maximize diversity and inclusion, it is important to acknowledge that disability inclusion can have a snowball effect. Increased accessibility will lead to more diversity on campaign teams, more volunteers, more diversity of candidates, and greater voter turnout to support candidates who align with salient disability and inclusion issues that can include educational, healthcare and employment access, income inequality, and civil rights.

Below are some relevant national and state resources on campaign accessibility:

National Council on Independent Living
American Association of People with Disabilities
Election Access
She Should Run
Election Assistance Commission
Disability Rights Oregon
Disability Law Center of Alaska
Idaho State Independent Living Council
Disability Rights Iowa

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