The basis of any democracy is """"""""one person, one vote"""""""". Every vote is important and every voice must be heard. This is especially true for individuals with disabilities whose life, liberty and pursuit of happiness is directly affected by the laws and statutes passed by elected officials. If a person does not vote, they have chosen to allow others to speak for them. But when an individual is denied the ability to vote, or becomes disenfranchised from voting, it undermines our country's very foundation. Relevance of research to public health: It is imperative that strategies be developed, based on both evidence and experience, so all individuals vote and affect the social, public and community-health programs, products and services that directly impact their lives.
Aims and Objectives: The project describes the experiences around the process of voting, from the point of view of adults with Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI) and any feelings of disenfranchisement that may occur prior to or during voting; Furthermore, the project captures the perceptions of the TBI individual regarding their capacity to vote and perceptions of caregivers, chief judge poll workers, and health care professionals of the TBI individuals capacity to vote on Election day. Research design and Methodology: We utilize a participatory action research (PAR) and Grounded Theory approach, including video and audio taping, structured interviews, transcribing and coding of PAR participants with and without TBI before, during and after three elections held at the country, state and federal level (presidential primaries). The project supports the NIH Mission and goals by (1) pursuing fundamental knowledge about the nature of the behavior of persons with TBI (NIH Mission Statement), (2) application of that knowledge to reduce the burden of suffering and disability among persons with TBI (NIH Mission Statement), (3) fostering fundamental creative discovery/ innovative research strategies (PAR) to advance significantly the Nation's capacity to improve health (NIH Mission goal 1). ? ? ? ?
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