Disabled Americans are encouraged to vote, but that’s all. No barriers have been removed to ensure that disabled voters have disabled candidates to vote for. States like Indiana and Illinois pretend that no disabled person has any disability rights as a candidate. That’s why the Midwest is so hostile to disability rights, just like the Old South was hostile to black people and black candidates.
Much work was needed to undo the civil rights violations in the South, and more work is now needed to undo the discrimination in the Midwest. It will take other parts of the country rejecting everything the Midwest stands for, including being the first place on the planet to force sterilization on disabled people (Indiana Eugenics Law, 1907). The worst cases originated in Indiana, including all of the civil rights abuses against me, the cheating to ensure I could not get justice.
Much of the story of cheating and violating my disability rights can be found in my lawsuit against the United States. Courts hiring my appellees during the appeal, allowing perjury to make me lose, it’s all there. Straw v. United States, 1:18-cv-278-CMH (E.D. Va.). Virginia State Bar denounced what Indiana did as a “drive-by shooting” and so I am suing Indiana in Virginia Circuit Court. Straw v. Indiana, CM18-958 (Pr. Wm. Cty. Cir. Ct.) (ORDER at *3-4)
Stump v. Sparkman, 435 U.S. 349 (1978) showed that even the worst human rights violations cannot be opposed if a judge did it. Buck v. Bell, 274 U.S. 200 (1927) was a much earlier case during the Jim Crow era that allowed a state to sterilize people with epilepsy and other mental disabilities.
Courts have the power to lead the way to human rights hell, just like they supported Nazi Germany as it murdered people with disabilities.
Those who want to rid the world of people with disabilities started with sterilization and then moved to murder. This is why Disability Party has a zero tolerance position on abortion to kill babies with disabilities. Merely having epilepsy or Down Syndrome or Autism or bipolar or depression will increasingly be obvious in our DNA, and this makes it easier to kill in the womb for “purity,” just like Nazis. Similarly, being a civil rights based party, Disability Party opposes all abortions being done on the basis of any civil rights category.
I ran for Congress in 2011-2012, 2015-2016, and 2018. The first time, I ran as a Democrat because I had 18 years of commitment and work dedicated to that party, such as founding IU College Democrats. But I switched to the Green Party when the Democrats discriminated against me in Indiana based on my disabilities.
As the readers of this column know, I have very serious physical and mental disabilities from public service to the Indiana Supreme Court and the U.S. Marine Corps and I don’t accept that someone in a position of power anywhere in the United States can discriminate against me on that basis. I found the Green Party to be much more accommodating and friendly to my strong focus on disability rights. It is also my legal practice and my personal and political advocacy to focus on disability rights. The ABA said this before siding with my abusers and removing my membership so I cannot oppose the violations as a matter of policy at the ABA. This is very sad after the ABA’s kind words.
While Greens were better than Indiana Democrats, they also had problems. There was no ASL interpreter for the national convention and a serious political party would either pay someone to do that or invite someone to volunteer to do so if they can’t pay for it. It was only a couple of hours in Baltimore 2012 and Jill Stein as a doctor should have known better.
I had donated enough to her directly that she could have paid for an ASL interpreter for two hours using the money I gave her. The Green Party also did not have a caucus based on disability, only an effort by some disabled people that had fizzled out and never got off the ground. When I wrote an open letter to Jill Stein, presidential candidate, about the ASL, I said there needed to be a Green Party Disability Caucus.
2012 was a year of much struggling and I did not get on the Indiana ballot for U.S. House because the Indiana Secretary of State said my 1 signature was not enough even though under the law, it was. Why? As my last column explained, the Indiana Secretary of State only received the appointment of the governor and that means her “election” was only 1 vote, the governor’s vote. Candidates need 2% of the Secretary of State vote in their district in Indiana and so my 1 signature was more than the 0 signatures required by the law. IC 3-8-6-3. I should have been on the ballot in 2012, but was required to have over 3,700 signatures as a Green Party candidate.
Indiana has long history of Republicans hurting me directly to benefit themselves, and not just in the courts. This electoral violation was just one more example. So 2012 went away and I moved to the Chicago suburbs in 2013. I had a long think about how Democrats and Greens both rejected my disability rights focus and I determined that a new, small party could stir things up so these big parties (even the Green Party is pretty big) would take disability rights more seriously and adopt our platform of disability rights and access.
Every time a judge insults me as a civil rights leader, it creates something new for the Disability Party to oppose and reform. And with the mountain of violations and dishonesty directed at me, I do my best to reform. At least I can keep a ledger of the violations. Judges and lawyers and legislators and party officials all disappoint when it comes to disability rights. They are selfish and dishonest and often corrupt. They use the word “frivolous” as a weapon and I explained this to the U.S. Courts in 2018.
So, I decided to create Disability Party and this happened officially on February 5, 2013. Six years later, it has over 3,000 followers all over the world and it grows gradually even without money on Facebook. If it could take the Republican Party over 10 years to get started, I think it’s ok to take at least that long for the Disability Party to get started.
I gave a last try to the major parties by taking my same disability focus and running for U.S. House under the Republican Party in 2015 and 2016 in the 8th District of Illinois, where I lived. Many parents of disabled people are Republicans and my primary opponent was one of them. But my opponent, DuPage County Council Member Pete DiCianni, despite having a child with a disability, demanded that I withdraw from the race so he could run. He did not want any competition and he achieved this by attacking his 3 primary opponents. His campaign showed him running from house to house when he knew that I can’t run at all. He was thumbing his nose at my physical disability.
When I would not withdraw, he used one of his staff (a petition circulator, Mr. Cramer, not neutral in any way) to challenge my petition and the number of signatures. I had asked the Illinois State Board of Elections for accommodations for my disabilities and DiCianni knew it. His staff attack on me was an attack on my ADA argument, which his staff member opposed. He betrayed his own daughter by insisting that he be the candidate when I was the one with disabilities. Parents of disabled people are perfectly capable of being selfish and keeping disabled people down when they don’t have disabilities themselves. In the universe of disability, non-disabled parents are not the top of my list for candidates. “Nothing about us without us.”
The Illinois State Board of Elections rejected my ADA accommodations argument and booted me from the Republican primary ballot for March 2016. After giving me a couple of minutes to state my side of the story, the ISBE said that my disabilities are, “compelling but not controlling.” This quote was in the Chicago Tribune article covering the hearing.
I gathered 128 signatures when the Green Party candidate in a nearby U.S. House district only needed 12 signatures to get on the ballot for the same office. This is nonsense. No one should even be required to gather signatures because it is a physical burden that violates the ADA. Gathering signatures is not a requirement for this office in Article I of the Constitution and it violates the Constitution by adding “popularity and physical ability” prerequisites that the Founders never mentioned and did not place in the Constitution.
The test of a candidate’s popularity is the number of votes they get.
So much cheating and backstabbing happens when we don’t follow the Constitution. It’s true with elections. It is true with administrative agencies. It’s true with federal and state judges. Just jet people run. Quit putting barriers in the way and using STATE bureaucrats to enforce the illegal STATE barriers to FEDERAL office.
I had commissioned a Gravis Marketing poll in December 2015 to demonstrate that I was more popular than my opponent, and when voters knew my positions compared to DiCianni’s, I was ahead 60%-12% among Republicans. I was not about to let DiCianni have 100% of the primary vote, so I ran as a write-in candidate for U.S. House to make sure he would not get the 100% he wanted. I also wanted the distinction of having run for this office and having received votes without even appearing on the ballot.
When I hand-delivered my write-in form to the Kane County Election Board, I found that county Board’s handicap parking full of snow (see below).
I was booted from the ballot by ISBE on January 7, 2016 and found this pile of snow on January 22, 2016. So, just 15 days after a disabled candidate for Congress was removed from the ballot, I demonstrated discrimination by the very board regulated by the ISBE after ISBE booted me. What better display of discrimination and what better reason for my objections to be upheld than this photo?
At the end of the day, Democrat Raja Krishnamoorthi won the general election in the 8th District in 2016 with about 58% of the vote, a landslide. Krishnamoorthi did not have as much experience as I did as a lawyer and was not even born in the United States. He’s never mentioned having a disability or caring about this. He was born in India. He took the oath of office on a Bagavad Gita.
That’s fine for him, but if I had been allowed to run as a disability rights candidate instead of DiCianni and his discrimination against me with the approval of the ISBE, maybe an American born on a U.S. Marine Corps base and disabled there would have been a better chance for Republicans to win. Certainly, I had the most experience of anyone in the race with physical and mental disabilities from public service and the strongest disability rights and legal platform. I will put my resume up against anyone’s in that race. www.andrewstraw.com I was the right person to follow after Tammy Duckworth, a disabled veteran U.S. House member who moved on to U.S. Senate in 2016. I wanted to serve with her and strongly respect her commitment to the nation and to disability rights because of her sacrifice of both her legs in Iraq. I made sacrifices, but my opponents did not.
I have run for office under Disability Party exactly one time and the Illinois State Board of Elections said no again. No ADA accommodations for my disabilities. This was in 2018 and I filed a lawsuit, which I later withdrew because it was obvious that the dishonest 7th Circuit was going to ruin that case. Straw v. ISBE, 3:18-cv-3066 (C.D. Ill.); Straw v. Indiana, 18-2878 (7th Cir. 11/21/2018).
The 7th Circuit had earlier in the year refused to allow me as a physically disabled person ADA Title II tester to oppose local governments leaving miles of ice piles in the sidewalks IN THE 8TH DISTRICT, my congressional district. I have been threatened time after time by the dishonest 7th Circuit judges with being banned from making any court filing. So I am suing the United States for its dishonest judges banning me because I would not accept or allow them to make me a crime victim. I would not. I do not. I will not. And I will not live there again when I move back from the Philippines. This will take me a while because I live on SSDI most of the time. I was only able to visit the Philippines because the ABA settled several ADA complaints related to Indiana I had.
When I understood that I was being banned from the 7th circuit because I would not accept being the victim of a federal crime (lying to a federal court to get more time, as Indiana by counsel did) against me, I left. I took my legal complaints and went south.
The Disability Party went with me. It is ironic that I had to go to the capital of the Confederacy to ask for civil rights when Chicago and its corrupt judges refused me all rights in a consistently dishonest fashion. Of course, after the 1968 Chicago Democratic National Convention, it should not be a surprise that Chicago is corrupt or violent or its judges and I never want to live there again. After I opposed hundreds of ADA violations in Cook County in the short time I lived there and after getting a punch in the face from officialdom every time I complained, why would I stay in such a hostile and dishonest place that wants to hurt me? A place surrounded by thousands of square miles of farms spraying hog manure on the ground. I think it affects how people think in Chicago, this hog manure mist.
In the 7th Circuit, the Democrats and the Republicans are both corrupt. They both discriminate. And the government is run by them. There are only Democratic and Republican judges in the 7th Circuit and they are equally corrupt and cheat in my experience. I need a level, fair playing field and the Midwest has not provided it over the past 6 years and I don’t expect that to change, ever. I need a party that cares about disability rights, and only a party dedicated to that can provide that.
My disability and civil rights cases that remain are in Virginia, North Carolina, and DC. These cases are important not just for me, but to give Disability Party the boost of resources it needs to grow both in the USA and around the world so that disabled people everywhere have a friendly party that wants them to participate in our democracy and will change the law and impeach those who discriminate to destroy the current dishonesty and other barriers. Being able to vote for non-disabled candidates is NOT enough. Until there are real accommodations in election procedures and ballot access requirements decided by the disabled candidates, the discrimination in our government and courts will continue.
CRITICAL CURRENT CASES
Straw v. Wilkie, 18-7129 (U.S. CAVC) – 2nd appeal of Camp LeJeune Family Member Program Application
Straw v. North Carolina, 7:18-cv-74-D (E.D. N.C.) – attacking statute of repose applied to Camp LeJeune
Straw v. United States, 1:18-cv-278 (E.D. Va.) – Fifth Am. damages Straw v. IL State Bd. of Elections, Prince William County, Virginia, Circuit Court, CM-18-957
Straw v. State of Indiana, Prince William County, Virginia, Circuit Court, CM-18-958
Straw v. Village of Streamwood, IL, Prince William County, Virginia, Circuit Court, CM-18-959
Straw v. Travelers Insurance, Prince William County, Virginia, Circuit Court, CM-19-xxxx (forthcoming)
POLICE & ETHICS REPORTS RE: 7th Circuit & district judges, and dishonest attorneys. 2018
If I win these cases or at least part of them, I will run for U.S. House as a Disability Party candidate, fully funded.