Sunday marked the 30th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, landmark legislation that literally opened doors for people across the United States. But new analysis from Rutgers University based on 2018 government data indicates just how much remains to be done: 42% of New Jersey voters with disabilities turned out for the 2018 election, compared with 55.4% of voters in the general adult population — for a “turnout gap” of 13.4%.
Among the reasons given for the lower turnout were difficulties getting to or using polling places, even as various states and localities have made efforts to reduce barriers and increase turnout among people with disabilities. Also noted were lower levels of political recruitment and feelings among people with disabilities that their votes will not make a difference.
To put Rutgers’ analysis in a national context: If people with disabilities voted at the same rate as people without disabilities who share the same demographics, there would be about 2.35 million more voters. Findings were based on data from the federal government’s Current Population Survey Voting Supplement for November 2018.