People With Disabilities Report Fewer Voting Troubles
The most recent election brought some good news for people with disabilities: far fewer problems casting their ballots.
Just 11% of voters with disabilities encountered difficulties during the 2020 election, down from 26% in 2012.
That’s according to a report out this week from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, a federal agency established by the Help America Vote Act.
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The report conducted by Lisa Schur and Douglas Kruse of the Rutgers Program for Disability Research is based on information gathered from 1,782 voters with disabilities and 787 voters without following the November election. Schur and Kruse produced a similar report after the 2012 election.
One reason that people with disabilities may have seen fewer issues during the latest election cycle is greater availability of mail-in voting in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Nearly 75% of voters with disabilities opted to cast their ballots in the 2020 election either by mail or through early voting in person, far more than in 2012.
And even among those with disabilities who voted in person, difficulties were less common, with 18% reporting problems in 2020, down from 30% in 2012.
“In an election year with so many obstacles and unknowns, the improvement in accessibility for voters with disabilities is a testament to the hard work and dedication of election officials,” said Ben Hovland, chairman of the Election Assistance Commission.
Despite the improvements, the report found that disparities remain as people with disabilities turned out to vote at a rate 7% lower than others.
Voting difficulties were most common among those with vision and cognitive impairments, according to the research.