Voters with disabilities outnumber minority groups and could prove a powerful voting bloc — if they’re ever given easy access to polling places on Election Day. According to a new report from the Rutgers University School of Management and Labor Relations, about 35.4 million disabled people will be eligible to vote in the November 2016 election, a larger group than African American or Hispanic voters. It represents an increase of nearly 11 percent since 2008, a higher rate of growth than among voters without disabilities. The trick is turning those eligible voters into likely voters, Rutgers professor Douglas Kruse said. According to the report, only 46 percent of eligible disabled voters are projected to actually cast a vote.
“Over the last century, people with disabilities have not been part of mainstream life, in general,” said Kruse, a co-author of the report. “The relative neglect of people with disabilities just stems from that lingering social exclusion. They haven’t fully incorporated them into social life and political life.”
It comes down to obstacles faced at the polls, Kruse said. For example, more than 20.1 eligible voters are expected to have a mobility impairment likely requiring a handicap ramp to enter the building. An expected 6.3 million will have a visual impairment, requiring assistance in the ballot booth.
Often, that assistance isn’t available. In 2012, about 30 percent of voters with disabilities reported facing an obstacle to voting. Only 8 percent of other voters reported an obstacle.
Full Article: Rutgers study: Disabled are ‘neglected’ voting bloc.