[NFBWATlk] U.S. ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION STUDY ON DISABILITY AND VOTING ACCESSIBILITY IN THE 2020 ELECTIONS
merribeth.manning at gmail.com
Wed Mar 3 00:36:42 UTC 2021
U.S. ELECTION ASSISTANCE COMMISSION STUDY ON DISABILITY AND VOTING
ACCESSIBILITY IN THE 2020 ELECTIONS
The EAC’s “Disability and Voting Accessibility in the 2020 Elections” study
has been completed under the clearinghouse and research mandates outlined
in the Help America Vote Act (HAVA). The study aimed to analyze the 2020
election experience for voters with disabilities amidst the COVID-19
pandemic. Building on a similar EAC study conducted in 2012, the EAC
collaborated with a team of experienced researchers from Rutgers University
and launched the project immediately after the 2020 general election.
Disability and Voting Accessibility in the 2020 Elections
version link) posted below*
The 2020 study engaged 2,569 respondents including 1,782 voters with
disabilities and 787 voters without disabilities. As in 2012, the
oversampling of voters with disabilities was designed to produce a sample
large enough for precise measurements and reliable breakdowns by
demographic variables and type of disability.
The study focused on polling place access, mail and absentee voting
accessibility, election administration challenges, COVID-19 obstacles, and
civic participation. As the EAC plans for future elections, this data will
be crucial in helping officials adopt new voting technologies and address
the ever-growing accessibility needs of an aging demographic.
Under HAVA directives, the EAC is tasked with maintaining a clearinghouse
of election administration information. To fulfill this mission, the EAC
provides best practices recommendations, training materials, and other
resources for election officials. By enhancing our work with voters with
disabilities and the election officials who serve them, we aim to improve
accessibility and to ensure an independent and private vote for all.
Executive Summary Analysis of the 2020 Disability and Voting
Accessibility Survey, based on representative samples of citizens with and
without disabilities who were eligible to vote in the November 2020
elections, indicates strong progress in voting accessibility since the
comparable 2012 survey. The disability sample includes people with a
variety of disabilities, based on Census Bureau measures. Some key results
• Voting difficulties among people with disabilities declined markedly from
2012 to 2020.
• About one in nine voters with disabilities encountered difficulties
voting in 2020. This is double the rate of people without disabilities.
• Among people with disabilities who voted in person, 18% reported
difficulties, compared to 10% of people without disabilities. The
disability number is down from 30% in 2012.
• During a general election that saw a shift to voting by mail, 5% of
voters with disabilities had difficulties using a mail ballot, compared to
2% of voters without disabilities.
• Five of six (83%) of voters with disabilities voted independently without
any difficulty in 2020, compared to over nine of ten (92%) of voters
• One in seven (14%) of voters with disabilities using a mail ballot needed
assistance or encountered problems in voting, compared to only 3% of those
• Voting difficulties were most common among people with vision and
• Close to three-fourths (74%) of voters with disabilities voted with a
mail ballot or early in person in 2020. This represents a significant
increase from 2012 and is higher than the two-thirds of non-disabled voters
who did so in 2020.
• People with disabilities voted at a 7% lower rate than people without
disabilities of the same age, pointing toward a continuing disability gap
in voter turnout.
The decrease in voting difficulties from 2012 to 2020 is good news, though
it should be noted that about half of the decrease in polling place
difficulties appears due to a change in composition of voters, as those who
were most likely to have difficulties at polling places shifted to using
mail ballots in the 2020 pandemic. The other half of the decrease, however,
appears due to improved polling place accessibility that represents
progress by election officials and policy-makers. This interpretation is
supported by the finding that among those who voted at a polling place both
before and after the pandemic, those with disabilities were more likely
than those without disabilities to say that voting in 2020 was easier than
before the pandemic. This report reviews other key results contained in 32
tables, making comparisons to the 2012 survey where available. These tables
cover a variety of aspects of the voting experience, including specific
difficulties, need for assistance, confidence that one’s vote was
accurately counted, treatment by election officials, voter comparisons of
2020 voting to their pre-pandemic experience, and preferred method of
voting in the next election. We also provide data on non-voting forms of
political participation, political interest, recruitment for voting, and
other facilitators of voting. We break out all results by major disability
type (hearing, vision, cognitive, and mobility impairment) and need for
help with daily activities.
I only put the Executive summary. The document is 52 pages long.
I find their findings very interesting.
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