Episode 5: Voter registration deadline in Kentucky is October 11, 2022
How to register to vote or change your registration, go to vote.org. The deadline for voter registration in Kentucky is October 11, 2022. You can register in person, online, or by mail.
Then Kimberly tells a story about how she almost died (not really) by poisoned yogurt and we hear part two of Kimberly‘s interview with Cass Irvin.
After you listen to the episode, go register to vote. If you’re already registered, go make your voting plan. Where will you vote? How will you vote, in person or by mail? Do you need to line up transportation? How about your identification card, is it up-to-date? Make your plan today!
The book "A Celebration of Family: Stories of Parents with Disabilities." is available from Amazon here.
Send comments and questions to [email protected]
Thanks to Steve Moore for the transcription which you can find in the show notes below when they become available.
Kimberly Parsley 0:05
Welcome to Demand and Disrupt, the disability podcast. Here, we will learn to advocate for ourselves and each other. This podcast is supported with funds from The Advocado Press, based in Louisville, Ky.
Kimberly Parsley 0:21
Hello, disruptors. We're doing a special episode of Demand and Disrupt all about voter registration. In Ky., our voter registration deadline is October 11. So, we’re going to be pushing this episode out really, really soon. And, so, what you're going to do is go to vote.gov. That's VOTE dot GOV. And it's going to bring up a box for you to pick your state or territory. If you live in Ky., pick Ky. And, then, there'll be a, you'll have to tap on something that says, ‘Find out how to register in your area,’ or something like that. And, then, once you click that button, that's going to take you to Ky.'s website. If you chose Ky., it’ll take you to Ky.'s website to either pick to register, to vote by mail on the website or [pick] information about how to register in person. So, everything you need, you can start out at vote – that’s your starting place. And, if you're in Ky., like I am, then, your deadline to register to vote is October 11. And I know that's coming up real soon. So that's October the 11th. Don't forget to do that – very important!
Always vote! You'll hear that many, many times on this podcast. But, since those of you haven't registered before, if you did that, I'm going to show my appreciation for that by telling you a funny story in a segment that I call, “Stupid Stuff That Happens to Blind People.” Actually, this is not necessarily a segment. But, hey, you never know – it could be. So, Saturday, my family and I got up and Michael usually handles most things food related in the house and that's just because I'm lazy. I may have convinced him that I couldn't do it. I may have, I may not have, but I may have. Anyway, so, he was doing that and he got me – this is what I get, see, for dishonesty. He, I had what we call Yogurt with Crunchies, which is Greek yogurt with, like, whatever – not even a little bit good for you granola that we have in the house. So, that’s what I had.
And, so, I sat down with my Yogurt with Crunchies and it did not smell the way honey-vanilla yogurt should smell; it smelled different. And, so, I said, “Did you check the date on this?” And he said, “Yes, I did.“ And I said, “Are you sure?” And he said, “Yes!” Now, my husband has many excellent qualities; many, many good things about my husband, but an awareness of time is not one of those. So, he got the, the container out of the garbage, because he had thrown it away. And it said, “Yeah, I checked; it says September 27.” “Uh huh. Right [I said]. And what's today?” “Um…” he said (and today, as it turned out, was October 1; notably later than September 22nd or September 27). So, now, I have been known to eat things that were a day or two out of date, you know, whatever, but not coupled with bad smell. You know? If it smells bad and it's out of date, then that just seals the deal right there. You don't eat that. Right. So, I did not eat it and, then, proceeded to almost be convinced that my husband was trying to poison me. I mean, it's true: not everyone would blame him if he did. I get that, I understand: I'm not an easy, easy person to live with. However, really? Poison by yogurt? It seems excessive. So, what I wonder is do other, other blind people deal with this, too? It's like someone else's sense of sight tops all the other awesome senses that we as blind people have. Like, I can smell things, I can hear things… It doesn't matter. Someone else's sense of sight tops that and I am therefore less, because I do not have that superpower, aka SIGHT.
So, I'm wondering if anyone else has this kind of thing happen? If you want to send it in, just put in the subject line, ‘The Segment Stuff That Blind People Put Up With or ‘Stuff Deaf People Put Up With’ or, it really, just anything. So, what you want to do is you want to go on your phone. Tell me if this this kind of stuff happens to y'all – I'm really interested! So, you want to go to your, on your phone to your voice memos app or equivalent, whatever. And you want to just record whatever. If you've had a similar story, a similar thing happens to you, you want to record that and you want to send an email to demand and [email protected] and then just attach that file. Just send me, send me that story as a file attachment: demand and [email protected]. I would love to hear from you. Thanks, y'all!
Kimberly Parsley 5:38
And now here's part two of my recent interview with Cass Ervin. Hello and welcome Cass Ervin. It is wonderful to have you with us.
Cass Irvin 5:48
Thank you glad to be here.
Kimberly Parsley 5:50
I think sometimes we forget that government is not, it’s not, it's not the weather. Okay? It's not some magical entity. It is people and those people work for us. They are to do the will of the people and we are the people every day and we have to, we have to, every day, we have to be making our will known to the people in government. That is called representative democracy and that is what we have.
Cass Irvin 6:27
That's why we need to register and vote.
Kimberly Parsley 6:30
That’s true, that’s true. That's why we need to register in and vote. Cass, what is the state of voting for disabled people right now? What does it look like?
Cass Irvin 6:41
Is that one of those open-ended questions which I've decided I hate? (chuckles) Okay. Again, I'm not so sure I can speak exactly of what's happening across the country; because, David Allgood could help you with that more; because, I'm, again, not keeping up on what everybody else is doing. I know that when I see people complain on any of the news broadcasts or whatever, I think, ‘Are you, but, are you voting? Are you complaining without doing anything about it?’ It's so easy to complain, but it's not easy to get out and do something on your own to make change. But if you don't do it, as the slogan goes, who's gonna do it?
Voting has always been important to me, because I realized, disabled or not, it was something I could do. And I'm not gonna say it's been easy, because I've been voting since I was 18. No. Yes, 18. And, um, at different times in my life, it was hard and many times in my life, like the last 30 years or more, it’s been easier. But, I vote absentee and that's a whole, another discussion with the way politics have been the last couple of years. I never worried about my absentee ballot.
Kimberly Parsley 8:20
Do you think it's important for disabled people to continue to be able to vote via absentee ballot?
Cass Irvin 8:27
Oh, sure! You know, if they're qualified, yes, definitely! I mean, I think anybody can. I mean, I don't know if in Ky. we've been able to vote and just put, put it in a box, you know, a voting box? I don't even remember, because, you know, I vote absentee and I don't pay attention to how other people have to vote. I know you can early vote, but anything that makes it easier to vote… I mean, come on! If you're going to cheat, you're going to do something big! You’re not gonna have a couple of people mark a ballot wrong and…
Kimberly Parsley 9:02
Cass Irvin 9:03
I mean, and that's why I like to vote at the polls, which I've mostly done, because I'm there with other people and they can look and go, ‘Oh, well she can, she's coming to vote,’ or, ‘I should feel bad about making excuses about coming to vote when she comes to vote.’ And, you know, I just liked the process. And you know, it's not been easy, like I said. I got several big adventures that have happened while trying to vote, including having to go down a flight of steps and a wheelchair.
Oh, my gosh!
But you know, it’s, it’s our chance to say what we feel and then if something didn't go our way we can say well, at least we did our duty and we've been out we voted
Kimberly Parsley 9:54
To me, I think voting is so fundamental to who I am. I mean, we, my, my precinct – my voting precinct where I live – they know me, they know my family. We go vote at the fire department and there's somebody there who ago led my kids play on the firetruck if it's there and my kids see us voting. And those, those women – and it is women; it is. So, when they talk about, you know, not really, verbal attacks or whatever on poll workers, that's largely women. That is largely women and older women and they're volunteering their time. And they’ve been doing it for years and it, it bothers me that we aren't showing them the proper respect that we should. And I mean, they, they…
I know that I am very likely the only person who uses the talking voting booth. I know that I am. But I, I would bet money that they make sure it's there for me, because they, they know I'm coming. They know, if it's election day, they're gonna see the Parsleys and, so, they make sure that I have what I need to vote in privacy, independently. And it, it hurts, hurts me in my feelings, as my daughter says, that people are questioning those people's veracity and their patriotism; that, those people who I feel sure have, have fought for me. And, I mean, I know now there's talk of going back to paper ballots. Well, I'm blind; I don't, I don't know how I'm going to do that. I don't believe necessarily that it's more secure than what I've been doing all along. So…
Cass Irvin 11:54
The first time I voted, my aunt was a precinct worker. It was a couple, maybe six blocks, from my house and somebody pushed me in my wheelchair all the way down there. And my aunt was a precinct worker and, because I could not reach – this was a booth with levers in it. And once you got the booth, you pulled the curtain and, of course, me and my wheelchair, that kind of stuck out. And, because I couldn't really reach the buttons, a poll worker who was Democratic and a poll worker who was Republican had to go in the booth with me and, you know, they were supposed to help me cast my ballot. And my aunt pushed the key or what it, lever forward straight democratic. And I said, “Wait!” And she said, “What?” (this is my aunt) and I said, “I wasn't gonna vote that way.” And she said, “You weren’t gonna vote Democratic?!” And I said, “Well, it was just one person I wanted to vote for who wasn't.” And she said, “Well, who?” And I told her, I told her and she said, “Oh. Well, you just flip this one up.” And she flipped one up which was, supposedly meant I voted for the other person. And it was, like, ‘What!’ You know, ‘This is my vote; this isn’t your vote!’ That was really fun.
Kimberly Parsley 13:17
It is! Yes, yes. Wow, wow. My first, my first foray into advocacy was, uh… You know, after the ADA was signed, many of those old polling places that were inaccessible were moved into courthouses or even some in larger churches, schools; you know, places that were accessible. Voting booths were… And there was actually a, a movement, so much as you can call anything political in Butler County, Ky., a movement. But, there was a very local movement to stop this, because it was, they said, ‘government overreach,’ that ‘we [the politicians] would not be able to go and do our handshaking and politicking as normal,’ which meant doing it the same way they’d always done it in places… I know the place that my mom voted at the time. I think I wasn't even ready to cast my first vote. [correction] That was the election for me to cast my first vote. It was, like, in this, this was an, a place barely bigger than, like, outhouse. I mean, it was tiny! It was a tiny, tiny place! Exactly, with the voting machines like you talked about; it was one of those with steps up to it: no way a wheelchair could get into it. Goodness knows they'd never thought about a blind person coming in to vote at all. But this person leading this movement wanted to make sure that that's the way it stayed. And, so, my first act of resistance was to write an article to put in the paper about why that violated my civil rights. And, I mean, obviously, I won and I've never looked back. So, but I feel like, I feel like people like you showed us how to do it. You showed us how to organize, you showed us how to keep our heads, you showed us how to take the small steps. So, tell me what you think those of us doing the work now: demanding change and disrupting the systems. What can we do in the future? What do we need to do?
Cass Irvin 15:32
Hmmm… This might sound strange, but think about working for politicians? Think about trying to educate them. Think about trying to show up where they are and get to tho, know them, because if they believe in your issues, they can do as much for you as a bunch of us marching on Washington can do. Well, I know that's hard to say, but… I mean, you do one of two things: you either get the people who make decisions on your side or you work to get those people to learn what your focus is, so they'll make decisions for you. I mean, disabled people, if… Well, it, every time I start to say something that I think what's contrary, contrary to that, because, you know, when you're in this business, you work very hard and people keep trying to tell you things you can't do. That’s why it's hard for me to tell somebody else what they need to do, because…
I have a friend and, I'll tell you, for the last 30 years, she showed up and then one year, she decided she had a voice! And the reason she decided she had a voice was because we were talking on the phone and I asked her to talk to me about the problems with our transit authority. And she did and I recorded it and, then, I transcribed that recording and I gave it to her. And I said, “This is what you said, isn't it?” And she said, “Yes.” And I said, “Well, just say this to Tarc.” I mean, people sometimes have the words, it's just they need help to get it done or they control pass just need to be around other people to support what they're doing. Did I answer your question?
Kimberly Parsley 17:40
Yes. Yes, you did. Yes, you did. It's not an answer I wanted. I wanted there to be something easier. (laughter) But, yeah, that makes that makes perfect sense, tho.
Cass Irvin 17:50
Let me tell you something else. Let me tell you something else. When you get a win, even if it's just a little win, it makes you feel so empowered, so strong, so capable. And the only example I have of that is, you know, I've been around for a long time, I used to talk to politicians all the time, whenever there was a public hearing. And I went to a public hearing for, a Ky. delegation was at a local neighborhood museum just wanting to hear from the people about, because they were, you know, Frankfort, they were trying to decide what their constituents needed. So, you know, we all got up and had a chance to speak. And I had my papers on my hands, because I usually write down what I want to say. And, so, when it was my turn to speak, I said, “You have to excuse me,” I said, “I'm very nervous.” I mean, I'm shaking my papers, because I'm very nervous. And one of the senators, Ky. State Senators, sitting up, you know, on the desk or whatever you call it, you know, waiting to hear from us, said, “Cass Irvin, you're a liar.” (chuckles) Scared me to death! And it was David Karam and he said, “I have never heard you nervous! I've seen you speak many times, never heard you nervous!” You know, I mean, it made me immediately more tense, but then relaxed at the same time, because, you know, I knew they knew I was talking, you know, knew what I was talking about. And it was, it's all personal experience: you just take what happens to you, personally, and you try to frame it in a way they can understand.
Kimberly Parsley 19:59
Yeah. Take, make it personal. Make it personal and the more the people who control the levers of power know you, then, maybe that, it has an impact on them, on each vote they take.
Cass Irvin 20:13
And David Karam went on to run, like, Ky. tourist agency downtown. So, any, I'm sure he's known accessibility ever since we've done all this. It’s, it’s what I do. It’s what, you know, it's important work.
Kimberly Parsley 20:36
It is. It is! And I personally thank you for doing the import, the important work.
Cass Irvin 20:41
It's very rewarding. Personally.
Kimberly Parsley 20:46
Thanks, Cass Irvin, for joining us and for your lifetime of service to people with disabilities. Thanks to Chris Onken for our theme music. Thanks to Steve Moore for our, providing our transcription. Support comes from the Center for Accessible Living, in Louisville, Ky. And you can find links to buy the book, A Celebration of Family: Stories of Parents with Disabilities, in our show notes. Thanks everyone!
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