Frances Harris, Hsiang-yu Yang, Caroline J. Bell, Sarah Endicott, Jon Sanford

Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia


The goal of this study was to examine the barriers and facilitators surrounding the voting process as experienced by persons with disabilities.  Methods included semi-structured interviews and structured observations of polling sites, conducted both independently and while accompanying voters to the polls.  We interviewed 41 persons who voted in-person, 4 persons who voted absentee, and 4 persons who had not voted in at least 5 years.  Facilitators and barriers were broken down into three major categories:  1) social environment, 2) pre-election information, and 3) physical environment.  Results revealed three broad problems: ignorance about how to interact with individuals with disabilities in the context of the voting process; problems with voting technology design; and inaccessible features of the built environment, which effectively marginalizes voters with disabilities


This research was supported by the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) under grant number EAC110149B. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this report are those of the authors and do not necessarily represent the views of EAC.

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