Launching a Political Campaign: 3 Tips for Candidates with Disabilities

Guest blog by Carla Lopez at carla.lopez@boomerbiz.org

Is your disability keeping you from launching a political campaign that deserves to be heard? It shouldn’t! Even if you hold a physical, mental, or communicative disability, you can achieve your dream of running for office if you’re passionate about the cause, have a meaningful story to share with the community, and have a great political team to assist you in launching your campaign. The Side Hustle Journey presents some tips on assembling a winning team, appealing to local voters with disabilities, and launching your political campaign!

1. Train for Free with the NCIL

As you get ready to run for office, organizations like the National Council on Independent Living (NCIL) can help to prepare and train you for what’s to come — including some of the obstacles you’ll likely face as a candidate with physical, mental, or communicative disabilities. Through its free online training program for individuals with disabilities, you’ll learn how to assemble a strong political team, raise money for your campaign, use your personal story to launch a meaningful campaign, communicate with your voters, and share your message online and through social media. Plus, these training materials are available as video recordings or PDF documents — making them easy to access at any time. 

2. Create an Accessible Campaign

According to Pew Research Center, about 56 million Americans held a physical, mental, or communicative disability during the time at which the 2016 election took place — and about 35.4 million of these individuals were eligible to vote in the election. However, turnout is much lower among voters with disabilities — largely due to the fact that most polling places aren’t as accessible as they should be. NPR notes some common obstacles facing voters with disabilities include things like reading and writing on ballots, using voting equipment, waiting in line, or simply getting to the polling place. 

As a political candidate with one or more physical, mental, or communicative disabilities, launching an accessible campaign will be vital to engaging with other individuals with disabilities, including them in your campaign, and making a positive difference in the world of disability rights. Here are some tips for creating an accessible campaign of your own:

  • Adding subtitles to your campaign videos. 
  • Representing voters with disabilities in your campaign photos, videos, speeches, and presentations.
  • Creating a campaign website that’s accessible to voters with visual, auditory, physical, and cognitive disabilities.  

3. Assemble a Winning Team 

In addition to online training and developing an accessible political campaign, you’ll need a winning team by your side to assist you in running for office and sharing your message with the world. As your campaign operations commence, consider hiring freelancers for the following staff positions:

Depending on your budget and campaign size, several additional roles to fill may include writers, web developers, and a scheduler, technology manager, political director, and office manager. You can find freelancers online through job staffing platforms if you need help writing press releases, speeches, and copy for your website, blog, and social media pages. Additionally, these job search platforms can even be used to look for freelance web developers, campaign managers, and other essential members of your political team. 

To help you become a stronger communicator, you could also hire a Communications Director to assist you in launching your campaign. Depending on the skills and abilities of your campaign volunteers, however, they may be able to assist you with communications, writing, fundraising, web development, and various other tasks as well. 

By now it should seem obvious that running a campaign is akin to running a business. As a political CEO per se, it may prove fruitful to pursue an advanced degree in management or even a doctorate in business administration. Getting an online doctorate makes the endeavor much more convenient, as you’re able to take coursework from your own home and on your own schedule. What’s more, having a doctorate is another feather in your cap as you work to win over voters, further legitimizing your capabilities and ambition.

Share Your Story with the World

By running for office as a candidate with a physical, mental, or communicative disability, you’ll help to empower other political candidates with disabilities or limitations — and you’ll make a positive difference in your community. You may face a few obstacles along the way, but your strength, creativity, adaptability, and resiliency will help you to push through these challenges and come out even stronger than ever. 

Image via Pexels

Are you living the side hustle life? Read more informative articles on The Side Hustle Journey blog and stay inspired or contact Julie at julie@theordinarymom.com for more info! 

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