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accessibility

Soldier fills out an absentee ballot

The Importance of Absentee Voting for Accessible Elections

In a new report, Thad Hall and Mike Alvarez, political scientists at the University of Utah and Cal Tech respectively, provide the first comprehensive assessment of political participation by people with disabilities in the United States in the 2008 and 2010 elections. Importantly, the report also highlights the impact that various policies can have on the accessibility of elections for people with disabilities. The report is worth a read in its entirety but I will repeat a few of the interesting top-level findings:

  • People with disabilities were less likely to vote than people without disabilities. In 2008, they were 7% less likely; in 2010, they were 3% less likely.
  • People with disabilities were less likely to be registered to vote than people without disabilities. In 2008, they were 4.6% less likely; in 2010, they were 1.2% less likely.
  • Compared to individuals without disabilities, people with disabilities are more likely to report a voter registration problem, having difficulty with voting equipment, and having needed help voting. On a positive note, they were less likely to report having to wait in line. (One reason for this might be some jurisdictions allow
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