Strength in Numbers: We Are the 25%

Photo provided by ESSC
ABOVE: Howard McBroom is an activist for people with disabilities and spokesman for We Are the 25%.


Easterseals SoCal (ESSC) has launched “We Are the 25%,” a voter awareness campaign that highlights the importance of disabled citizens getting out to vote.

There are over 61 million people across the United States who have a disability. That equals one-in-four voters, or 25% of the U.S. population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“It is important to let people know the power they have, we have,” said Howard McBroom, an activist for people with disabilities and spokesman for We Are the 25%. “The total of the disabled voting population of the United States is one quarter of all voters; that’s a lot of people, that’s a lot of power.”

McBroom has autism and also uses a wheelchair. He advocates for disability rights with state and city legislators in Sacramento and throughout Southern California. He is passionate about serving his community and about reaching out to it with the message of voting power.

“We want people to know they have the power to make a real difference. We want people to know they need to vote, and this is very important – your vote is your voice,” he said. “This is the way you can stand up for what you believe in and make a real difference. That is what we are trying to accomplish with We Are the 25% campaign.”

McBroom added there is a need to have faith in democracy. He does have a message for candidates running for elected positions on Nov. 3.

“I want to tell [the candidates they] need to campaign for compassion, to promote compassion and caring. They need to reach out to people like [those in] our disability community who have problems, who need help and who deserve to get that help. The rules of advocacy are simple – you tell people who you are, what you want, what you need, why you need it and above all else you have to tell them why it is in their interest to give it to you.”

He also hopes that the November election can be done in a respectful and peaceful way.

“Another thing I would like to tell the candidates is that hate does not make a nation great. Compassion is what makes a nation great,” he added. “You can’t solve important social issues with hate. You solve social problems by sitting down and talking to people and telling them you recognize them as human beings. That’s what I want to say to the candidates.”

Under the banner We Are the 25%, the campaign’s goals are to raise awareness and to educate people on the various options available to them outside of traditional voting avenues that cater to their needs, by mail, at home or at the polls and to encourage them to take action, according to an Easterseals statement.

“As our country strives for true inclusion, justice and equality, people with disabilities must play a larger role, renewing our fight against marginalization, stigmas and gross underrepresentation. Our elected officials, whether seated locally or in Washington, D.C., make decisions every day that dramatically impact the lives, wellbeing, health and prosperity of every person within the disability community. We vote to be heard, to be counted, to be included and to ensure our government makes informed decisions about necessary social services, access to healthcare, critical employment or educational supports and more. The stakes have never been higher, we must get out our vote,” stated Mark Whitley, president and CEO of ESSC.

ESSC’s campaign will assist more than 13,000 people with developmental disabilities and other special needs throughout Southern California, encouraging them to register and to vote.

“I would recommend [the disability community] to vote-by-mail,” McBroom said.

ESSC has a website ( that answers questions about how to register, where to vote and voting options [like vote-by-mail] and other resources.

“This isn’t just another election,” he said. “This is going to decide what kind of country we are going to be for the next couple of generations.”

Information on the We Are The 25% can be found at or call ESSC in Irvine at (714)

For information from Los Angeles County Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk on polling places, registering to vote and other resources, call (800) 201-8999 or visit and click on Voting and Elections, then Voting Options and then Voting Accessibility.