Communication Service for the Deaf (CSD) announced the expansion of its SignVote campaign designed to help inform and increase voter engagement among the deaf community throughout the 2020 elections. SignVote is a “nonpartisan platform that spotlights and features accessible voter content and resources made available in American Sign Language (ASL).”

CSD is a deaf-led social impact organization and, for 45 years, has “pioneered innovative solutions for a more accessible and inclusive world.”

“The goal of SignVote is to promote greater participation and engagement from our community in the political process and to elevate awareness of key issues that impact a deaf person’s quality of life,” said Chris Soukup, CEO of CSD. “We believe that continued organizing and advocacy will expand visibility of topics that are important to our community, which makes their inclusion in candidates’ disability plans more likely.”

“Every deaf person deserves the right to make fully-informed decisions as voters,” said Kriston Lee Pumphrey, deaf activist, performer, and community engagement manager for CSD. “SignVote provides an extensive ASL-based digital archive that will help eliminate some of the most fundamental barriers that deaf people still face today to full participation in the electoral process.” 

According to CSD, many deaf people in the United States are eligible to vote but do not have access to important voting registration materials and elections information in ASL, their primary language, and many polling stations lack staff who are fluent in ASL. This creates, says CSD, a significant barrier to overall engagement and making informed choices throughout the election process.

SignVote provides a critical solution, offering the deaf community an extensive and centralized resource of accessible content, including: 

  • Dedicated SignVote website,
  • Social media integration with Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube,
  • A central video library continually updated throughout the election cycle,
  • Voter registration materials and information—how and where to register,
  • Voter Toolkit on general voting and electoral issues (What’s on the ballot? Who are my candidates? It’s election day, now what?),
  • ASL Voter Hotline from the National Association for the Deaf (NAD).

To help “get the vote out,” CSD also has formed a SignVote coalition with several leading advocacy groups, including: Council de Manos; Deaf and Hard of Hearing Consumer Advocacy Network; DEAF, Inc; Deaf Queer Resource Center; Deaf Women United; DPAN-TV; Gallaudet University; the National Association for the Deaf; National Black Deaf Advocates; and RIT National Technical Institute for the Deaf. 

CSD also plans a SignVote forum later this year.

Source: CSD

Media: CSD, YouTube

Image: © Maria Dryfhout |