The Disabled Face Significant Obstacles To Voting In America’s Political System, Stanford Expert Finds


Publish Date:
May 23, 2016
  • Schmitt, Rick
Stanford News
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“People with disabilities are the ticking time bomb of the electorate.”

So says Stanford law researcher Rabia Belt, who has new research on the disenfranchisement of disabled Americans. The intersection of disability and citizenship – in history and in the here-and-now – is, in Belt’s view, part of a great unseen in law and democracy.

The number of disabled individuals in this country is sobering – about 50 million and counting. And in the lead-up to the 2016 election, the nation is ill prepared to accommodate them, said Belt, who joined Stanford Law School last year as a research fellow to finish her dissertation before she takes up her position as an assistant professor teaching disability law and criminal law at the school in June.

Some 3 million votes will be lost because citizens with disabilities are less likely to vote, according to Belt. The situation isn’t expected to improve either: Up to 35 percent of all voters in the next 25 years will need some form of accommodation.

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