People with disabilities are less likely to vote than people without disabilities (Schur, Adya, & Kruse, 2013). Moreover, when people with disabilities do vote they often face barriers. For example, polling places may be physically inaccessible for wheelchair users, and voting equipment may also be inaccessible for people with cognitive disabilities. Attitudinal barriers may also make voting more difficult; people with disabilities may need support from providers and Direct Support Professionals, but these people may not believe that voting should be a priority.

People With Disabilities: Voting Power

Approximately 1 in 5 people living in the United States have a disability (United States Census Bureau, 2012). If everyone with a disability voted, people with disabilities would have significant voting power and could draw attention to issues important to the disability community. For this reason, this study explores what factors increase or decrease the likelihood of people with disabilities exercising voting rights.

Factors That Affect Voting

As a result of these findings, a number of factors were identified, which are categorized into five unique classifications.

  • Disability Diagnosis
  • Communication Method
  • Decision-Making Authority
  • Residence Type and Size
  • Barriers, Supports and Organizations