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Civic Engagement

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Civic Engagement Initiative

NACDD believes that people with disabilities have a valuable role to play as active citizens of the communities in which they live.  Their involvement builds personal connections in the community, helps to break down misconceptions about people living with developmental disabilities and enables them to contribute back to their community as civic volunteers and partners.  Using person-centered, community-centered and purposeful learning approaches that are not currently part of the field of developmental disabilities will lead to systemic change in the civic engagement process at the local level.

In 2013, NACDD engaged DD Councils in discussions to advance civic engagement projects.  Thus far, at least 19 DD Councils have participated in building their knowledge on the subject and initiated local investments. Early results are promising for many states and an evaluation process will be conducted at the end of the first year.

State Spotlight: Georgia

GCDD Gardeningf

The Georgia DD Council’s work in creating inclusive communities or Real Communities as they call their program has served as an inspiration for our collective work in civic and community engagement though every DD Council’s project should be unique and appropriate to the local area.

In Georgia, they began with a community garden project that brought together members of an immigrant farming community with area people with I/DD over some seeds and a plot of land. The result was more than just a productive garden. More importantly the activity increased understanding by the immigrant community of the capacity of people with I/DD to be active members of their society, improved self-esteem in those with I/DD as they saw the fruits of their labors, a joint-venture at a local farmer’s market that showed the community how these varied people worked together and the distribution by the I/DD community of fresh produce to elderly local residents who rely on food assistance.

To learn more about the Georgia DD Council Real Communities program, click here.

Partnerships for Civic Engagement

Census Data 2020

Data of people with disabilities being added to the Census Bureau is crucial. The Census Bureau will collect the data to make statistics for America to see how disability is handled in the 50 states and additional territories. The statistics about American citizens will make way for government programs, laws and policies.

With the 2020 election, it is crucial now than ever to be added. The statistics will show where the voices of American citizens lie and how loud they are.

Important Dates

The 2020 Census Paid Media Campaign will occur in three phases:

1.     Awareness/Education Phase (Jan. 14 – March 12): Builds immediate awareness and provides educational information about the 2020 Census.

2.     Motivation/Participation Phase (March 13 – May 20):Inspires and motivates the public to complete the 2020 Census questionnaire online, by phone, or by mail.

3.     Reminder/Nonresponse Follow Up (May 13 – June 28):Continues to remind people to respond to the 2020 Census and to support census takers as they go door-to-door to count households that have not yet responded.

The 2020 Census will officially begin January 21, in Toksook Bay, Alaska, a remote fishing village located on the Bering Sea. Director Dillingham will be on hand to count the first person. Also known as the “first enumeration,” local census takers get a head start in rural Alaska when the ground is frozen, allowing for easier access to remote villages. Advertising in remote Alaska began in mid-December to provide awareness that census takers will soon visit villages to count the people who live there. Beginning in mid-March, households can respond to the census online, by phone, or by mail.

The U.S. Census Bureau is Hiring!

The U.S. Census Bureau is ramping up its national recruiting efforts to hire up to 500,000 temporary, part-time census takers for the 2020 Census in communities across the country to reach its goal of more than 2 million applicants.

The positions offer competitive pay, flexible hours, paid training, and weekly paychecks. To determine the pay rate in a specific area, learn more about these positions, or apply for one of the temporary jobs, visit

Census Resources

2020 Census Website

Census Disability Page

Why the Census Matters for People With Disabilities: A Guide to the 2020 Census Operations & Challenges – National Disability Rights Network

An Accessible 2020 Census: FAQs by the Disability Community About Census Operations – National Disability Rights Network

The Arc

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Our partner The Arc has created resources on how to add your data to the Census Bureau.

Census Fact Sheet (ENGLISH) | Census Fact Sheet (SPANISH)

Census Pledge 




Additional Resources

Civic Solve Logo

NACDD is partnering with CivicSolve to work with DD Councils to strategize and create their own civic engagement projects over the next few years.

Close Up Foundation Logo

The National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) is pleased to announce a partnership with Close Up Washington DC. The two organizations have agreed, in principle, to form a partnership focused on continuing NACDD’s effort to build civic capacity among its network of Councils while furthering Close Up’s outreach to include students with disabilities in their trainings.

One Vote Now Initiative

The concept of “One Person, One Vote” is central to the ideal of democracy in the United States. However, people with disabilities are historically underrepresented among voters. One Vote Now was created to encourage, facilitate, and empower people with disabilities and those who support them, to vote!

One Vote Now is a partner project of the National Association of Councils on Developmental Disabilities (NACDD) – the national voice of the 56 State and Territorial Councils on Developmental Disabilities; the Disability Rights Education and Defense Fund (DREDF) – a leading national civil rights law and policy center directed by individuals with disabilities and parents who have children with disabilities; the American Association of People with Disabilities (AAPD) – one of the nation’s largest disability rights organizations; RespectAbility – an organization founded to correct and prevent the current disparity of justice for people with disabilities; and the National Disability Rights Network (NDRN) – which works to improve the lives of people with disabilities by guarding against abuse; advocating for basic rights; and ensuring accountability in health care, education, employment, housing, transportation, and within the juvenile and criminal justice systems.

One Vote Now was founded to help all people with disabilities understand their rights as voters. One Vote Now seeks to improve the voting representation of people with disabilities by encouraging voter registration and providing information about voting opportunities and resources on polling place accessibility. One Vote Now also seeks to help provide information and education so that more people with disabilities will run for public office.

For more information, please visit