Easterseals and AARP survey finds nearly all Americans with disabilities, especially those over 50, plan to vote midterm

Majority concerned about impact changes to electoral law could have on ability to vote

CHICAGO, October 4, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Easterseals, in partnership with AARP, today released the second “State of Disabled Voters Survey” which found that 92% of Americans with disabilities over the age of 50 plan to vote in the midterms of 2022, with the majority indicating they will use early voting methods and/or require specific accommodations to vote. The survey also highlights underlying concerns about voting access and threats to Social Security and Medicare among people with disabilities – the largest and most diverse group of voters in the country.

“Tens of millions of Americans with disabilities plan to vote in the 2022 midterm elections, but nearly half (43%) need specific accommodations to vote, and 62% fear that changes to election laws will not have a negative impact on their ability to vote,” said Kendra Davenport, President and CEO of Easterseals. “This bipartisan population is highly motivated to participate in the democratic process, but they are very concerned about the barriers that prevent them from fully exercising their right to vote.”

The survey was conducted among a nationally representative sample of people with disabilities and an oversample of adults with disabilities aged 50 and over, August 23-29, 2022, by Pathfinder Opinion Research. Combined with census estimates for this population, the survey results show that there are approximately 33 million registered voters with disabilities, including nearly 30 million who plan to vote in the 2022 U.S. midterm elections.

“Recent changes in election laws are impacting voters’ ability to vote successfully this year. That’s why AARP is committed to providing all voters over the age of 50 with reliable information about when, where and how to vote during this election cycle,” AARP said. Director of Advocacy Engagement and Inclusion, Lisa Simpson. “It is more important than ever for all voters over the age of 50 to use their voice and their power to vote.”

Most voters with disabilities rely on early voting methods to participate in elections, and a significant percentage of adults with disabilities say they need special accommodations to vote, according to the survey results. 61% of U.S. voters with disabilities ages 50 and older rely on early voting methods to participate in the election using mail-in voting, ballot drop-off, or in-person early voting before Election Day. Only 39% will vote in person.

In addition, a significant number of voters with disabilities, 43%, require at least one accommodation to vote, including transportation assistance to a polling place; in-person voting assistance from a voting official; a wheelchair at their polling place; and a Braille ballot or a sign language interpreter.

“If people with disabilities voted at the same rate as other Americans, there would have been 1.75 million more voters in 2020,” said Lisa Schur, professor and co-director of the Rutgers Program for Disability Research. “Part of the disability gap is due to inaccessible voting systems, which not only make it physically difficult to vote, but also send a psychological message that people with disabilities are not welcome in the political sphere.”

Voters with disabilities show broad bipartisan support for various policy reforms that would make it easier to vote:

  • 90% support for elderly and/or disabled voters to receive help from people they trust to request, complete and return their absentee ballots.
  • 82% support expanding the use of mail-in ballot boxes.
  • 70% support allowing any registered voter to vote by mail with a mail-in ballot without excuse.

Pocket issues reflect the low employment rate, high rates of government assistance, and limited financial means of the majority of Americans with disabilities, with fighting inflation and strengthening Social Security being among the top concerns of the sample over 50 years old.

Almost all, 85%, of Americans with disabilities receive some type of government assistance (Medicare, Medicaid, Social Security, SSI, or SSDI), with the majority barely meeting or not meeting their basic needs.

  • 35 percent just meet their basic needs
  • 21% do not have enough to meet their basic needs

Review the key findings from Easterseals and AARP on the state of voters with disabilities and the full methodology, as reported by Pathfinder Opinion Research.

About Easter Stamps

Easterseals paves the way for full equity, inclusion and access through life-changing community and disability services. For more than 100 years, we have worked tirelessly with our partners to improve the quality of life and expand local access to health care, education and employment opportunities. And we will not stop until each of us is valued, respected and accepted. Through our nationwide network of affiliates, Easterseals provides essential services and on-the-ground supports to more than 1.5 million people every year – from early childhood programs for the critical first five years, to autism services , medical rehabilitation and employment programs, veterans. services, and more. Our public education, policy and advocacy initiatives positively shape perceptions and meet the urgent and evolving needs of the one in four Americans living with a disability today. Together, we empower people with disabilities, families and communities to be full and equal participants in society. Learn more at www.easterseals.com.

About AARP

AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose their lifestyle as they age. With a national presence and nearly 38 million members, AARP strengthens communities and champions what matters most to families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the most popular publications in the country: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org, www.aarp.org/espanol or follow @AARP, @AARPenEspanol and @AARPadvocates, @AliadosAdelante on social media.

About Pathfinder Opinion Research

Pathfinder Opinion Research is a national public opinion research company serving nonprofit, advocacy, corporate, public affairs and political organizations that need a good measure of public opinion and strategic advice on how to turn research into action.

SOURCE Easter Seals

Comments are closed.