Your monthly news & updates
A note from Debbie....
Our primary election is this Tuesday, August 18th and then the general election is on November 3rd. Please make sure that you vote!

Every vote counts and it is one of the most precious rights we have in our country. It does not matter your age, your gender, your race, or your ability, everyone’s vote counts the same. We are all equal and have the same power.

DIG is focusing most of this newsletter on voting and we will be discussing voting a lot over the next couple of months. DIG is working on accessible vote by mail in the state of Florida, Access the Vote Florida is developing candidate questionnaires for all state level races, and our Virtual Supper Social in September will focus on voting.

So learn about the races in your area, learn about the candidates running, and DON’T FORGET TO VOTE! 
clip art that is 2020 with the first 0 as a voting button that says your vote counts
How to Return you Vote-by-Mail Ballot
voting drop box for the miami dade county elections department
Your ballot can be returned five different ways.

1)     You can mail your ballot back to the supervisor of elections. If you choose this option, the postage will be paid for you during a countywide election and you are not required to put a stamp on the envelope. You must use the USPS (United States Postal Service) and the ballot must be received by 7pm on Election Day.

2)     You can drop off your ballot at any of the early voting locations. You must put the ballot in a secure drop box during the hours of operation.

3)     You can drop off your ballot in person during business hours (9am -5pm, Monday-Friday) at one of two locations.

a.      The Miami-Dade Elections Department at 2700 NW 87th Avenue, Miami, FL 33172

b.      Stephen P. Clark Center Voter Information Center at 111 NW 1st Street, Miami, FL 33128

4)     You can drop off your ballot at one of four designated locations on Election Day (7am – 7pm).

a.      Elections Department (Main Office), 2700 NW 87th Avenue, Miami, FL 33172

b.      Elections Branch Office (Stephen P. Clark Center), 111 NW 1st Street, Lobby, Miami, FL 33128

c.      N. Dade Regional Library, 2455 NW 183rd Street, Miami Gardens, FL 33056

d.      S. Dade Regional Library, 10750 SW 211th Street, Cutler Bay, FL 33189

5)     You can designate someone to drop off you ballot.

a.      This is limited to two ballots per election

b.      Only one of which may be from a voter who is not the spouse, parent, child, grandparent, or sibling of the designee.

REMEMBER: On Election Day, you CAN NOT drop off your ballot at your precinct. Florida law does not allow this. If you wait until Election Day to submit your ballot you MUST either drop it off at one of the four designated locations or you can choose to vote in person at your precinct.

You can track your Vote-by-Mail ballot on the Elections Department website.
"When racism and ableism combine, the result is another tragedy." So, to honor the 30th anniversary of the ADA and to memorialize those persons of color who have disabilities, it is important to stand together because disability rights are civil rights.
Accessible Vote by Mail in Florida

vote button that shows a blind woman with a service dog a laptop and vote ballot collection box
Florida Council for the Blind obtains settlement which ensures accessible, independent, and secret voting for persons who are blind or print impaired
On July 31, 2020, Florida Council of the Blind and its members settled its Americans with Disabilities Act case with the 67 county supervisors of elections and the Florida Secretary of State is to implement a Remote Accessible Vote By Mail (RAVBM) to be partially implemented by the November general election and fully implemented by the next statewide general election.

In Florida, everyone has the right to cast their ballot in secret and this is a core value in the elemental aspects of being a full citizen of the United States.  Voting by secret ballot is essential to the integrity of the electoral process as it allows voters to cast their ballot without fear or intimidation. For my clients who are blind, and those with other print disabilities who need to use technology to complete a ballot, a paper ballot did not allow them the same benefits and privileges of every other citizen.  

The accessible voting system allows a person who is blind or otherwise print impaired to vote secretly and independently by use of a computer that has a screen-reader. RAVBM effects more than just persons who are blind but will also affect all persons who are print impaired. Persons who are print impaired include all persons with disabilities who use an auxiliary device to read or to fill out a ballot. This includes persons with dyslexia, or persons with limited dexterity of their arms or hands, such as persons who are quadriplegic. The accessible system allows a blind or print impaired person to obtain the ballot via their computer, read the ballot, and then use their auxiliary device (braille keyboard, voice control, etc.) and fill in the ballot. It replicates the experience and process of using an accessible voting machine at the polling place. Then the ballot would be printed out, the voter would be required to sign and mail it back in.

Plaintiff and FCB member Doug Hall appears with the Volusia County Supervisor of Elections to celebrate the use of this system in this news segment - July 28, 2020, Spectrum News, 3 Area Counties to Try Software for Visually Impaired Voters. President of the FCB, Sheila Young, demonstrates how this will assist her with the Supervisor of Elections of Orange County in this news segment - August 12, 2020, WFTV, Pilot program to help blind, dyslexic Florida voters cast ballots from home.

The Settlement has three operative provisions: (1) Pilot Program; (2) Task Force (3) Complete Implementation.

(1)  Pilot Program – Miami-Dade, Pinellas, Orange, Volusia, and Nassau Counties have agreed to participate in a pilot program for implementation of RAVBM. There is no doubt that there is a difficulty in implementing a new voting system, especially for an election that record number of votes will be received by mail. Accordingly, if there is a reason that is beyond the control and creates an undue hardship for the Supervisor of Elections that would prevent the implementation, as described in detail in the agreement, the Supervisor may be excused from this duty. 

(2)  Task Force – A task force will be established to evaluate RAVBM Ballots, which will include persons with disabilities to create a report of its findings and recommendations regarding options for cost, feasibility, administrability, security, and effectiveness of possible methods of allowing registered voters in Florida who are blind or print impaired to mark secret, independent, and verifiable vote-by-mail ballots without the assistance of another person. This would include the feasibility of all possible solutions, from systems that might be developed independently of private vendors to the security and feasibility of electronic vote return.

(3)  Complete Implementation - By March 31, 2022, each Supervisor of Elections will deploy and implement a Remote Accessible Vote-by-Mail System.
This change will affect approximately 100,000 voters for the November 2020 General Election, and about 500,000 voters once fully implemented. According to the 2018 American Community Survey, there are 498,200 persons who are blind or have serious difficulty seeing even when wearing glasses. There are also 1,020,500 persons in Florida who have an independent living disability, which is defined as having difficulty doing errands alone such as visiting a doctor’s office or shopping because of a physical, mental, or emotional disability. For all ages, 2.5% of the population has a visual disability and for ages of 16 to over 75 years of age, 5.8% have an independent living disability. In Florida, persons with disabilities are more likely to vote than those who do not have a disability (1.1%) however, this number is within the margin of error. Furthermore, it is estimated that the percentage of vote-by-mail will exceed 40% of all voters, and the estimated turnout is 70% of all registered voters.

Out and About with DIG
Enable Project - Workshop 5
August 26, 2020
How to Host an Accessible Event

FIU Embrace
September 12, 2020
Topic: Education

FIU Embrace
October 24, 2020
Topic: Voting

FIU Embrace
October 31, 2020
Topic: Housing

DIG in the News
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DIG in! for Equal Justice.
It is that time of the year when attorneys must strive to satisfy their professional responsibility to provide pro bono service. We are hoping that this year you will DIG in! for Equal Justice and make at least a $350.00 contribution to:

This will satisfy your responsibility and help us continue to: 

Guaranty the rights of all persons with disabilities equal opportunity to live in the community by educating and advocating for their rights.

Fight discrimination in employment against persons with disabilities, and work with employers and governments to ensure that persons with disabilities have adequate job opportunities.

Ensure that persons with disabilities have safe interactions with law enforcement through The WALLET CARD PROJECT .  This is DIG’s signature efforts in conjunction with police departments to heighten the awareness and communication between law enforcement and people with disabilities.  

Your $350.00 or more contribution will satisfy The Florida Bar Rules of Professional Responsibility to provide pro bono legal services.

Please make you tax deductible donation using this link.

or mail a check to: 
Disability Independence Group Inc.
2990 SW 35 Avenue  
Miami, FL 33133   
Miami Inclusion Alliance (MIA)
It is now August and we still find ourselves in a public health crisis, the COVID-19 pandemic. Public health officials are continuing to recommend social distancing to slow the spread of infection. Because of these recommendations, technology such as video calls and web chats have become useful tools to connect with victim/survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, in particular, those victims that are persons with disabilities. This has replaced much of the in person delivery of services we have always used in the past.

BUT, after using technology to connect for the last four months, we are recognizing that it must be used cautiously and with victims/survivors at the center of our evaluation of its effectiveness. We must figure out how balance access with privacy and safety.  

Lucy the dog
Benefits of Having a Pet in Law School
I have grown up with many pets throughout my childhood, be it my hamster Sammy, several kinds of fish, my service dog Marie, or our three cats – Lulu, Tiger, and Oliver. Each pet my family has had holds such a special place in my heart, and frankly, I am not sure as to what my life would look like without a pet or two around the house. They have been part of every happy moment or significant milestone and every trying or uncertain period of our lives. It would be hard to think about not having the comfort of my service dog when I came home from surgery in the seventh grade, the happiness of getting a new kitten for my 12th birthday, or welcoming our Maine Coon when starting off my first year of law school. Our pets are as unique and different as each person that I have met and known, and I can't help but think about what it would be like if I didn't have the added joy of them in my life.

Lucy with a sign in her mouth that says all guests must be approved by the dog.
We are still accepting wallet card applications however, it is taking us about 2 weeks to process each application.
The Wallet Card Project
The wallet card is a tool to be used by a teenager or an adult with a disability. Currently, we have developed cards for persons with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) or Intellectual Disabilities.
Do you want to receive updates and information about the wallet card project?
Access The Vote Florida
Meetings will be every Friday at 11am.

Toll Free Call: (888) 585-9008
Conference Room No.: 133-116-452(#)
Do you want to receive updates and information about voting?
voting sticker that is blue white and red it says i voted in english spanish and creole with the hashtag i am election ready
By: Claudia Romero

With elections drawing closer, it can be easy to feel lost when it comes to who the candidates are. It can be difficult to keep track of who’s still in the running when it comes to any election that isn’t the Presidential. The smaller, yet equally as important local elections.

Vote411 is a website that provides its user with information on important voting dates and the candidates on the ballot. It is simple to use and allows the user to compare the opinions and viewpoints of the candidates running for the same office. Once you are on the website, scroll down to the map of the United States and select your state. After you have done so, you will be able to see important voting dates for your state. Beneath these dates, there will be a box labelled “More Resources.” To learn more about your state candidates, select “Learn More” beneath “Find Out What’s On Your Ballot,” that will lead you to a Voter’s Guide. Select the yellow three bar menu on the banner that says “Vote411 Voter Guide” and select “All Races.” Select your state and the position you would like to know more about to compare candidate positions.
When it comes to the positions of Mayor and State Attorney in Miami-Dade County, voters are often in the dark as to who shares their viewpoints and who does not. Considering the mayor controls the budget of the county and allocates funds to certain services, it is important to vote for a mayoral candidate that values the same services as you. To find out more about the views of this election’s candidates for mayor, you can visit vote411 and search for your state.

The 2020 mayoral candidates for Miami-Dade are as follows:
-         Monique Nicole Barley
-         Esteban L. Bovo Jr.
-         Daniella Levine Cava
-         Ludmilla Domond
-         Alexander Penelas  
-         Xavier L. Suarez

The State Attorney’s job is to prosecute both criminal and civil cases on behalf of the people of the county. It is important to vote for the State Attorney that you feel would best represent you. Once again, for more information visit Vote411.

The 2020 State Attorney candidates for Miami-Dade are as follows:
-         Melba Pearson
-         Katherine Fernandez Rundle  

Remember! Early voting is always an option!! Although the Primaries are on August 18th, there are several locations and times where you can cast your vote before the official Primaries and the official Elections. 
VOTE 411
VOTE 411 from The League of Women Voters is committed to ensuring voters have the information they need to successfully participate in every election. Whether it's local, state or federal, every election is important to ensuring our laws and policies reflect the values and beliefs of our communities.

Vote 411 logo pink box with the word vote in white letters and below that the number 411 in black ink
Educational Information
Stephanie will be back next month.
head of stephanie langer holding a business file and wearing a black and white polkadot shirt.
Supper Social Club - We are Virtual
black rectangle box outlined with a yellow line and the words Supper social club in the box in white
Virtual Supper Social Club-- Topic is Voting
Zoom Link

09/14/20 6:30pm - 09/14/20 8:00pm

Virtual Supper Social Club. We will send the zoom link a few days before the event.
I'll be there!
I can't make it
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Your Upward Journey
The cover of the book Your Upward Journey by Patricia Bochi
In a nutshell, Your Upward Journey:

It is Easier Than You Think!, a three-part project (book, self-help seminars and merchandise sale).