Elections Have Gotten More Accessible for Disabled Voters, but Gaps Remain


Elections Have Gotten More Accessible for Disabled Voters, but Gaps Remain

In a recent development related to the accessibility of elections for disabled voters, a new report has shed light on the progress made and the challenges that still persist. The report, conducted by researchers from Rutgers University and San Diego State University, analyzed the impact of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and found that while there have been improvements, significant gaps remain in the voting process for disabled Americans.

Quick Facts

  • In 2020, disabled voters still had an 11-point lower turnout compared to non-disabled voters.
  • While there has been progress, about 14% of disabled people reported having trouble voting in 2022, up from approximately 11% in 2020.
  • Turnout among people with disabilities increased from 2018 to 2022, particularly in states that made it easier to vote by mail during the pandemic.

In 2018, Kenia Flores, who is blind, faced challenges voting by mail in North Carolina due to her disability. Similarly, Dessa Cosma, who uses a wheelchair, encountered difficulties at her precinct in Michigan. These experiences reflect the ongoing barriers that disabled voters encounter in the electoral process.

Despite efforts to improve accessibility, the report highlighted that disabled Americans continue to vote at lower rates than their non-disabled counterparts. While the gap has narrowed over the years, significant disparities persist, especially in terms of turnout and reported difficulties in voting.

Recent backsliding in the data, including an increase in reported voting difficulties among disabled people, has raised concerns. Factors contributing to this trend could include the revocation of pandemic policies that facilitated mail-in voting and the impact of long Covid on individuals’ disabilities.


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