Disability Voting Rights Week, September 11-15, is a national nonpartisan initiative to build the power and presence of the disability vote.
There are an estimated 38 million Americans with disabilities who are eligible to vote. Despite the size and power of our voting bloc, people with disabilities voted at a lower rate nationally than non-disabled voters in the 2022 midterm elections.
Although research shows that voting access for disabled voters is improving, there is still much work to be done. Making U.S. elections more accessible will require work on the part of lawmakers, election officials, as well as significant input from affected voters, and community advocates. Policymakers will need to make decisions that weigh myriad goals and interests, such as accessibility and security, privacy, and independence. Ensuring that disabled voters have full and equal access to the ballot box is not optional—it is a federal mandate.. Policymakers have numerous tools available to improve election systems and make them more accessible, and they must employ them now with all urgency before the next major election.
Nearly 30 years after the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), 60% of polling places still have impediments that inhibit people with disabilities from accessing the polls. Voting sites are less likely to be set up for wheelchair access or have headphones readily available, or even switched on for use, for audio-balloting. The Ford Foundation has supported disability rights organizations to secure a voice and encouraged voting rights and civil rights. They have supported groups such as the National Disability Rights Network and the Center for American Progress’s Disability Justice Initiative, which center multi-marginalized identities and increase collaboration between the disability community and democracy movement.
During Disability Voting Rights Week, AAPD will register and educate voters to strengthen and celebrate the collective power of people with disabilities.