#Ideas4Hillary … And For Everyone Else, Too

#CripTheVote in rainbow color letters, to the right picture of a ballot box with four disability symbols on the front

If you’ve ever had an idea about how disability-related laws, programs, and policies should be done differently, anywhere in the United States, tell it now to Hillary Clinton, who actually asked for ideas on disability policy in her speech in Orlando this Wednesday, September 21. Go to her website and submit your ideas there. Or, if you use Twitter, type out the short version of your idea and include the hashtags #Ideas4Hillary and #CripTheVote. For good measure, add Clinton’s Twitter handle: @HillaryClinton.

And after you’ve done that, share your ideas with the other Presidential candidates, Donald Trump, Jill Stein, and Gary Johnson.


Disability policy doesn’t have to be partisan, and good ideas are worth talking about with anyone who seriously wants to be President.

Have a look at some of the ideas people have already posted:


Photo of a green supermarket mobility cart

I just did a Twitter search for #DisabledPeopleProblems, because I wondered if anyone had made use of the hashtag to highlight the smaller problems and dilemmas that only disabled people have to deal with. I found a few tweets, but not as many as I thought I would.

I’m not talking about the big issues, like accessibility, discrimination, and messed up service systems … but rather the sorta hard, kinda annoying little things we deal with every day that don’t rise to the level of injustice, but which stick in our craw anyway.

For example, this afternoon I went shopping. My list was medium sized. That meant I had to decide whether to go the the big, full-service supermarket that’s got good parking, and always has plenty of mobility carts available, but is also usually crowded and hard to navigate? Or, do I go to my neighborhood, second-rate grocery store that only has one mobility cart, (that I don't care to risk riding on), but does have smaller shopping carts that are easier to push, and the store itself is both smaller and less crowded? On the other hand, it’s not very nice, and there’s usually at least one thing on my list that I find they don’t have. Which means another shopping trip.

As I said, these are not terrible problems. Most of the time, I can afford whatever is on my shopping list without having to completely rework my monthly budget, or dropping items off the list purely because of cost. I drive and have a car, so I don’t have to worry about adhering to someone else’s schedule … whether a friend or, say, a paratransit bus. I can get my groceries from my car to my kitchen, usually in just two trips, though to be honest, for me that is by far the hardest part of shopping. Things could be a lot worse, and for many disabled people, they are.

Yet, these are my little dilemmas, which I only really have to deal with because of my particular kinds of disabilities. I’m not complaining or comparing. I just think it’s interesting to explore the second or third-tier problems we deal with as moderately disabled people. And thinking of them as a variation of #WhitePeopleProblems helps, because that phrase carries with it a similar kind of ironic awareness about just how relative “problems” can be, depending on where you find yourself in society and identity.

What are your #DisabledPeopleProblems?

Next #CripTheVote Twitter Chat: Disability Integration Act of 2015

Disability Integration Act of 2015
Guest Host: Stephanie Woodward, Center for Disability Rights

Saturday, May 14, 2016
5 - 6:15 PM EST


Hosted by Andrew Pulrang, Gregg Beratan, and Alice Wong, #CripTheVote explored various policy issues important to people with disabilities this spring. We are delighted to have guest host Stephanie Woodward, Director of Advocacy, Center for Disability Rights, for a conversation about the Disability Integration Act of 2015 and Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) in general.

The Disability Integration Act of 2015 is a bill (S.2427) introduced by Senator Chuck Schumer. From his press release (1/7/16):

... the legislation ensures that any individual who is found eligible for institutional care must also be given the option to receive the same necessary services and supports at home, or in a setting of their choosing, that would have otherwise been provided in an institutional setting.

The federal government describes Community-Based Long Term Services and Supports (LTSS) as:

... sustainable, person-driven long-term support system in which people with disabilities and chronic conditions have choice, control and access to a full array of quality services that assure optimal outcomes, such as independence, health and quality of life.

More on Long-Term Services and Supports from the National Council on Aging

Long-Term Services and Supports (LTSS) Issues for People with Disabilities from The Arc

Overview of DIA

Full text of the bill

Questions for the Chat

Q1 If you use LTSS for your daily activities, what are your experiences accessing those services?
Q2 Why are community-based personal assistance services important to you compared to institutions?

Q3 Do you currently receive enough LTSS to live your life the way you want? If no, please explain.

Q4 For those who receive LTSS through private insurance or state programs, what are the challenges using them?

Q5 How will DIA's ban on service caps, waitlists impact the disability community & the all people?

Q6 How would the DIA work in different states with different services already in place?

Q7 How would the additional community-based services be paid for?

Q8 In what ways is the right to adequate community-based LTSS a civil & human rights issue?

There’s also a provision in the DIA requiring more accessible & affordable housing.

Q9 How does availability of housing relate to access to community-based LTSS? What do you think of this provision?

Q10 What can we do to support the DIA? How can we talk about this w/ people who don’t understand or use LTSS?

Q11 If you support the DIA, how will you communicate w/ your Congressperson to get it passed? Ideas?

Q12 What does ‘community integration’ mean to you as a person w/ a disability?

Q13 What is missing in the DIA? What do you want in a society that where disabled people can truly thrive?

Q14 Any final questions to Stephanie about the Disability Integration Act of 2015?

How to Participate

When the chat begins, check out the live-stream: http://twubs.com/CripTheVote or search #DIAchat on Twitter for the series live tweets.

Follow @AndrewPulrang @DisVisibility @GreggBeratan and @IStepFunny (Stephanie Woodward) on Twitter.

Use the hashtags #CripTheVote and #DIAchat when you tweet.

Check out this explanation of how to participate in a chat by Ruti Regan

Additional Links

Resources on voting and people with disabilities

#CripTheVote Facebook Page

A note on language and why we use the term ‘crip’


#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.

While #CripTheVote is a nonpartisan project, we understand that many people have already developed preferences for particular candidates. This is great--we only ask that everyone is respectful in their interactions with each other. Our primary focus here is on increasing engagement with disability issues as a part of American politics and on the need for that we are all in agreement!

Please note we do not represent the entire disability community nor would we ever claim to do so. There are many ways to create social change and engaging in conversation is one approach.

Thinking Today

Illustration of a human head in profile, with four different colored gears inside the head

People Who Are Not Disabled Need To Check Out #AbleismExists Right Now
Elyse Wanshel, Huffington Post - April 22, 2016

This week while on a blogging break, I enjoyed following the #AbleismExists hashtag. I didn’t know until yesterday that Dominick Evans started it, but I’m not surprised. Dominick is very good at talking about ableism in an accessible, relatable way, and drawing out people who experience ableism on a regular basis. The hashtag produced some really thought-provoking tweets. Reading them this week I found myself nodding my head a lot. So, so much is familiar. Not all of it … ableism is diverse and it doesn’t come all in one complete package … but I’ve experienced a lot of it myself, and what I haven’t experienced I have seen happen to other disabled people.

All of which brought back to mind one of the most persistent puzzles about “ableism” and what I like to think of as "ableism skeptics." These are the people who may or may not be deeply discriminatory themselves towards disabled people, but who have some sort of problem with the idea of ableism. The puzzle is how many of them truly doubt that disabled people experience significant stigma and discrimination, and how many just have some kind of cranky objection to the word itself.

And, does it make a difference which people think what?

I don’t think it makes a difference to how we experience ableism, but to me it’s still an interesting question. It’s one of the reasons I named this blog Disability Thinking.

Re: #CripTheVote

#CripTheVote logo with a ballot box with four disability symbols on the front.

On Saturday night at about 11 PM Eastern, someone contacted me, Alice Wong, Gregg Beratan, and others to propose collaborating on a planned website about disability and politics that would be called #CripTheVote. This person had already bought the domain name cripthevote, and had a basic template set up. He also had a Twitter account with that name, and a Facebook page.

While the three of us who started the #CripTheVote hashtag discussed our response, others he contacted started tweeting their objections to this appropriation of the #CripTheVote name. We just sent our compete response to the original email. Here is what we said:


First of all, we have been working on a response to your original email for part of last night and most of today. We are three people living on opposite sides of the US, so it took us a bit of time for us to agree an approach. In the meantime, others responded to your email to them with their own thoughts. We happen to pretty much concur with what they have been telling you via Twitter.

We appreciate your changing the name of your website to something other than #CripTheVote. We hope that will be taken care of soon. There are three main reasons why we do not wish to collaborate with your project, and why we objected to your using #CripTheVote for its branding:

1. We have worked hard to make our project disability issue focused, nonpartisan, and for the most part, non-editorial. That is, the three of us have generally not inserted our own political views into the conversation. While a website that collects various Op-Ed type pieces on disability and politics is a fine idea, it is not compatible with what we are doing with #CripTheVote.

2. There may be confusion by your readers on your involvement in #CripTheVote, and our connection with your website. It is unfair and incorrect for people who visit your website or tweet with you to believe you are affiliated with us, or we with you. It’s clearly stated in numerous articles and blog posts that #CripTheVote is run by 3 people and you are not one of them.

3. It also disturbed us that you bought the domain name, set up the template for your website, opened a Twitter account, and a Facebook page, all using #CripTheVote … and only then began contacting a whole host of participants, (including us), without first discussing your idea with us. We feel ambushed, and that would be a bad way to start any new collaboration.

Again, we are glad you have agreed to change the name of your project. Your idea is great, but it is separate from #CripTheVote and should not be confused with #CripTheVote. There is room for multiple projects and campaigns on this subject, and no need at all to piggyback on other each others’ ideas.

Gregg Beratan
Andrew Pulrang
Alice Wong
#CripTheVote Co-Partners

PS The online ‘homes’ for #CripTheVote are on Twitter as a hashtag and these two websites since its inception on January 27 2016:



We greatly appreciate the support we have gotten from others on Twitter. Hopefully, the name will be changed quickly, and we can get on with discussing disability issues in the election.


We got a reply to our message and Alice, Gregg and I consider the matter satisfactorily closed.

#Crip The Vote Twitter Chat: Disabled Voter Access and Disenfranchisement

#CripTheVote with logo featuring four blue disability symbols on a ballot box

Yesterday’s Twitter Chat on voting accessibility and disabled voter disenfranchisement was probably the most active and meaningful #CripTheVote event we’ve had so far. Big thanks and congratulations to my partners in this thing, Alice Wong (@SFdirewolf), and Gregg Beratan (@GreggBeratan). And of course thanks to all who participated.

We can’t prove it was the biggest event so far, because getting consistent stats out of Twitter is hard to do and expensive. However, here are a few fairly reliable measures of everything #CripTheVote between April 3 and April 10, most of which come from yesterday’s chat:

- 889 original tweets, 3,325 retweets, and 349 replies

- 1.1 million “maximum reach” (number of people who may have seen #CripTheVote tweets)

- 15.6 million impressions (number of potential individual tweet viewings)

- Participation from 11 countries, including 125 tweets from the UK, 53 tweets from Canada, and 2 tweets each from Brazil and Australia.

Speaking just for myself, I came away with three main ideas from the conversation:

1. Absentee ballot voting or other forms of voting from home are often good options for disabled voters, if that’s the method they would freely choose. However, it must never be allowed to become a substitute for accessible voting in neighborhood polling places.

2. The top priority is for disabled people to cast votes and have them counted. But it is also important for disabled voters to experience and be seen voting along with all of their neighbors, with and without disabilities. There is added value for the disability community when we can show up physically and cast our votes.

3. There are dozens of ways that otherwise accessible voting can go wrong and end up excluding voters with disabilities. But above all of them, caucuses just need to go. You could not design a primary voting system that more thoroughly excludes disabled people if you tried. It’s hard enough for disabled voters to get to a polling site and simply cast a simple vote. Imagine how much harder it is for so many of us to sit though hours of chaotic group discussions, (and hollering matches), under purposefully arcane rules, and in all likelihood never hear or be heard due to scores of physical, sensory, and cognitive barriers that the parties barely think about much less solve. Caucuses are accessibility nightmares.

Enough from me. Once again, Alice has put together a Storify of tweets from the chat, in case you missed the event or just want to see what it was all about. Take your time and browse this broad and varied discussion of voting accessibility, and the numerous barriers and frictions that make political participation so much harder than necessary for disabled people.

#CripTheVote: Tweet The Candidates

#CripTheVote in big blue letters, with logo of a ballot box with four disability symbols in blue on the front

Last week was an eventful one in disability activism. We should make the most of it. Get ready to #CripTheVote.

This week, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton endorsed two specific policy proposals that are incredibly important to the disability community.

On Monday, March 28, she answered a question from the audience at one of her campaign events, (an attorney with autism), about the long and controversial practice of paying sub minimum wage to certain disabled workers. Clinton said that the practice, which is legal under Section 14(c) of the Fair Labor Standards Act, should be abandoned … that no disabled person should be paid less than the minimum wage. (Add link to article).

Then, on Saturday, activists from ADAPT in Rochester, New York traveled to a Clinton event in Syracuse, specifically to ask Clinton if she supports the Disability Integration Act, (DIA), a Senate bill sponsored by Sen. Chuck Schumer, that would require all states to allow anyone qualified for long term care services to receive those services at home if they choose … essentially ensuring that nobody has to go into a nursing home or other institution if they don’t want to. Again, an activist in the audience asked Clinton if she’d support the DIA, and she said yes. (Add link to article).

These endorsements are important for several reasons.

- These statements are unusually specific. 14(c) will either be repealed or not, and the DIA will either pass the Senate, or not,. They aren’t vague aspirations that can't be pinned down. They are specific policy goals we can easily track in the coming months and years.

- They address two of the most potent issues the disability community cares about. Both are about fundamental values like fair pay and basic freedom.

- As important as these issues are to the disability community, most voters don’t know anything about them, so endorsing them really doesn’t help a candidate with anyone except for voters with disabilities and maybe their families. Bothering to day anything at all about these issues indicates that a candidate views disabled voters as worth courting.

- Both proposed solutions are at least somewhat controversial. Sub minimum wage has defenders, including some disabled people, disability professionals, and families. And it is far from clear what, exactly, is the most effective way to help disabled people get out and stay out of nursing homes. Most people agree on these goals, but any kind of tinkering with existing programs tends to raise objections, some of them practical, others simply based on financial interest or emotional investment in the status quo. Taking positions on these issues will win friends, but also create some enemies.

- These are meaningful policy statements that are more specific than what any of the presidential candidates have already said in their speeches or on their websites.

If you support Hillary Clinton for President, this is reason to be very proud. But that’s not the end of the story. The other candidates could, in theory, offer their support as well. The most obvious would be Bernie Sanders, but it’s not out of the question that a Republican candidate might support these positions.

And if ALL of the candidates came out in favor of these policies, it would be nothing but good news for the disability community. So let’s see if we can make that happen!

This week, get on Twitter, and tweet the challenge to the other presidential candidates. Ask them to support repeal of the sub minimum wage for disabled workers. Ask them to support the Disability Integration Act. Here are suggestions to help you do this for each issue.

Issue Background: Subminimum Wage:

National Council on Disability Report on Subminimum Wage

Sample Tweets:

@JohnKasich @mike_schrimpf Will John Kasich support banning payment of subminimum wage to workers with disabilities? #CripTheVote

@tedcruz @MrJoshPerry Will Ted Cruz support banning payment of subminimum wage to workers with disabilities? #CripTheVote

@realDonaldTrump @DanScavino Will Donald Trump support banning payment of subminimum wage to workers with disabilities? #CripTheVote

@BernieSanders @taddevine Will Bernie Sanders support banning payment of subminimum wage to workers with disabilities? #CripTheVote

Issue Background: Disability Integration Act

Disability Integration Act (S.2427)

Sample Tweets:

@BernieSanders @taddevine Will Bernie Sanders support the Disability Integration Act (S.2427)? #DIAToday #CripTheVote

@JohnKasich @mike_schrimpf Will John Kasich support the Disability Integration Act (S.2427)? #DIAToday #CripTheVote

@tedcruz @MrJoshPerry Will Ted Cruz cosponsor the Disability Integration Act (S.2427)? #DIAToday #CripTheVote

@realDonaldTrump @DanScavino Will Donald Trump support the Disability Integration Act (S.2427)? #DIAToday #CripTheVote

Each tweet includes the candidate’s official Twitter handle, and one for a key campaign advisor or manager. Adding #CripTheVote joins all of our Tweets into more of a unified push, and makes it easier for us to see right away how heavily and consistently we are delivering our message. Of course, you can also compose your own messages. However, it’s a good idea to make them basically the same for each candidate, to make it clear that the benefits of listening and responding to the disability community are open to all candidates, not just those people may assume we already support.

Let's start today, Monday, April 4, and see how many tweets we can generate this week. Okay? Let’s do this!

Next Week In #CripTheVote

#Crip The Vote with picture of a ballot box with four disability symbols in blue on the front

#CripTheVote will be back next week with Twitter Chats in the hour before the March 9 Democratic Debate, and before the Republican Debate on March 10.

On March 9th, we will discuss the top 5 disability policy areas as indicated in preliminary results of our Disability Issues Survey. On March 10th, we will discuss the top 5 disability policy ideas shown in those results. If you haven’t completed the survey yet, click here. It’s anonymous, and fairly brief. If you are unable to complete the online version of the survey, you can follow this link to a text-only version, or request a Word document by email from apulrang@icloud.com.

Based on user feedback, we will be posting the discussion questions for both chats in advance, so people can have time to prepare.

Here are the dates again:

Democratic Debate            March 9, 2016, 8:00 PM, (one hour before the 9:00 PM debate).
Republican Debate            March 10, 2016, 7:00 or 8:00 PM (one hour before the debate time, to be announced).

Please join us as we discuss the issues that matter to people with disabilities, and how we can get them addressed in this year’s election campaigns.

How to Participate

Follow @AndrewPulrang, @DisVisibility, @GreggBeratan, on Twitter.

When the debate begins, check out the live-stream: http://twubs.com/CripTheVote or set your Twitter application to sort for the hashtag #CripTheVote.
Use the hashtags #CripTheVote and #DemDebate or #GOPdebate when you tweet, so all participants can read all comments and responses.

We will post Storify summaries of these chats a day or so after each one. [Storify Of 2/11/16 Chat] [Storify Of 2/13/16 Chat]

Additional information on voting and people with disabilities:

#CripTheVote Facebook Page:

Frequently Asked Questions about #CripTheVote:

A note on language and why we use the term ‘crip’:
#CripTheVote Disability Issues Survey:

#CripTheVote: Part 2

#CripTheVote - Our Voices, Our Vote, Americans with Disabilities and Political Participation - #GOPdebate Twitter Chat - February 13, 2016, 8 PM Eastern / 5 PM Pacific - Follow @AndrewPulrang @DisVisability @GreggBeratan on Twitter

The first #CripTheVote Twitter Chat was a tremendous success! Dozens of people offered ideas and observations on disability issues in this year’s U.S. election campaign. There were so many great ideas it was hard to keep up.

The next #CripTheVote event will be tomorrow, Saturday, February 13, from 8:00 to 9:00 PM Eastern, before the 9:00 Republican debate.

Same as last night, Alice Wong (@DisVisibility), Gregg Beratan (@GreggBeratan), and I (@AndrewPulrang) will host, and we hope to see lots of disabled people participating again. I can’t tell you how encouraging it is to see so many people who not only are interested in promoting disability policy issues, but really seem eager to do so. Alice Wong has created a Storify so you can see what people said:

How to participate in the next #CripTheVote Chat on Saturday, February 13, at 8 PM Eastern.

When the debate begins, check out the live-stream: http://twubs.com/CripTheVote

Follow @AndrewPulrang @DisVisibility @GreggBeratan on Twitter for updates

Use the hashtags #CripTheVote and #GOPDebate when you tweet

More Information on Voting and Disability

A note on language and usage of the word ‘crip’:

Crip Theory, Wright State University

Questions? Media inquiries?

Ready To #CripTheVote?

#CripTheVote - Our Voices, Our Vote - Twitter chats before Presidential debates, on disability issues and strategies for disabled voters.

This #CripTheVote project is profiled today in the Washington Post:

The 2016 conversation has ignored disabled people. Now, they want to be heard
Caitlin Gibson, Washington Post - February 10, 2016

The first two #CripTheVote Twitter Chats are tomorrow, Thursday, February 11, 8 PM Eastern, before the Democratic debate at 9 PM Eastern … and Saturday, February 13, 8 PM Eastern, before the Republican debate at 9 PM Eastern.

Alice Wong (Twitter handle: @DisVisibility), Gregg Beratan (Twitter handle: @GreggBeratan), and (Twitter handle: @AndrewPulrang), I will be hosting, and we hope to see lots of disabled people participating … sharing thoughts on disability issues and strategies for getting candidates to address them. Just add #CripTheVote to your Tweets, and search #CripTheVote to read what others are saying.

We also have some resource pages set up right here at Disability Thinking. Take a look:

Incidentally, if you are not using Twitter, now would be a great time to start. Like all social media, the quality and relevance of the content depends on who you connect yourself with, and what you contribute to the conversation. And it doesn’t take much practice to keep the the 140 characters per Tweet limit. If you prefer not to join though, we will be posting Storify recaps of each conversation that you can read on a standard web page.