Staging A Mock Election
Photo credit: S:US
As the summer season heats up so does the national debate about who will be the next president of the United States. Not wanting to be left out of the conversation, individuals with
intellectual/developmental disabilities who attend our 149th Street Day Habilitation (hab.) program began discussing the upcoming election. Their interest sprang from two sources: watching the ongoing drama of candidate interviews and seeing the civic responsibility demonstrated by one of their fellow Day hab. participants, Shimeyan Y. (not pictured), who voted in the NY State primary election.
At the Day hab., individuals debate the strengths and weaknesses of Bernie Sanders, Hilary Clinton and Donald Trump. Staff noticed their growing interest in national politics so they decided to stage a mock election right there at the Day hab. The names and photos of each political candidate were printed on a mock election sheet. Each individual then went alone into a private voting booth and, after spending time mulling over the candidates, cast their vote. Justin B. and Rauly E., two individuals who attend the program, expressed how thrilled they were to be given the responsibility of tallying the results. Justin added, “I voted in the 2012 election and especially enjoyed choosing a candidate. I am planning to vote in November!” The presidential candidate who won at this 149th St election did so by a large majority because the voters believed that candidate would help get funding for their needs as individuals with disabilities.
After experiencing the thrill of this mock election, each individual came away with a strong desire to vote in the actual presidential election in the fall. That was when Program Director Melissa Martinez noticed that only a few individuals were registered to vote so she began working with their residential programs, family members and Medicaid Service Coordinators to register them in time for this November election.
S:US is grateful to Shimeyan whose civic actions not only helped inspire this mock election but also motivated his peers to become more aware of current events, register, and ultimately help decide who will serve as our country’s next President!