News from LIFE

Eligible Voters with Disabilities Increase by Nearly 20%

By Shaun Heasley

As we near the November election, new research finds the number of voters with disabilities across the nation has grown exponentially and could make the difference in how races are decided.

There are an estimated 38.3 million eligible voters with disabilities in the U.S. That represents a 19.8% increase since 2008 and outpaces the 12% rise in voters without disabilities during the same period.

Moreover, the researchers noted that when people with disabilities and the family members they live with are factored in, disability issues are significant to nearly 30% of the electorate. The sheer size of the disability electorate makes it clear that people with disabilities and their families have the potential to swing an election.

The new figures suggest that there are more potential voters with disabilities than there are Black or Hispanic voters in this country. Researchers who are behind the report cited a surge in turnout among people with disabilities in 2018 and said turnout could be especially strong this year given the expansion of mail-in voting due to COVID. Data from past elections shows that disability turnout was higher in state with all-mail or no-excuse mail ballot systems. 

However, mail in ballots do pose an accessibility issue for some. Mail in voting applications in 43 states were reported as challenging or impossible to complete by many with disabilities.

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