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New Study Examines Accessibility of Elections for Americans with Disabilities

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U.S. Election Assistance Commission Releases “Disability and Voting Accessibility in the 2022 Elections,” Conducted in Partnership with Rutgers University

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) – in partnership with Rutgers University – released a pair of reports examining voting accessibility and disability turnout in the 2022 election. The EAC worked with Professors Lisa Schur, Douglas Kruse and Mason Ameri of the Program for Disability Research at Rutgers University to conduct the study.

The researchers focused on voter accessibility in the 2022 election, comparing the results to the same post-election surveys that were conducted in 2020 and 2012. The survey covered topics such as voter turnout, difficulties voting, assistance voting, voting methods, and treatment by election officials. The researchers also analyzed 2022 voter turnout using Census data. The findings are critical for election officials who continuously work to meet the needs of their jurisdictions and make voting accessible to all eligible voters.

The reports and other information for "Disability and Voting Accessibility in the 2022 Elections" can be found on the EAC’s website.

Ensuring all election officials and poll workers are equipped with up-to-date guidance and resources on the best practices for assisting voters with disabilities will be critical to improving accessibility at all polling places on Election Day or early voting. Other key findings include:


While turnout of citizens with disabilities slightly increased from 2018 midterms, they are more likely to need assistance voting and to experience difficulties during the voting process.

  • The likelihood of difficulties voting in person in 2022 was 20% among people with disabilities compared to 6% among people without disabilities. The likelihood of difficulties voting with a mail ballot was 6% among people with disabilities compared to less than 1% among people without disabilities.
  • One in five voters with a disability either needed assistance or had some difficulty in voting in 2022, which was three times the rate of voters without disabilities.
  • Of the 15.8 million citizens with disabilities who voted, 2.2 million encountered difficulties voting in 2022, which was a slight increase from 2020 when 1.95 million of the 17.7 million voters with disabilities encountered difficulties.
  • Voting difficulties were most common among people with vision and cognitive impairments.


People with disabilities were more likely to vote in 2022 compared to 2018, but remained less likely to vote than people without disabilities, and were more likely to vote with a mail ballot.

  • Voter turnout in 2022 increased by 1.6 points among citizens with disabilities relative to the 2018 midterm elections, while it decreased among citizens without disabilities by 1.6 points.
  • This increase helped close but did not eliminate the turnout gap between citizens with and without disabilities, which went from -4.8 points in 2018 to -1.5 points in 2022.


“In 2022, election offices across the country maintained the momentum seen during the 2020 elections in creating accessible elections for voters with disabilities, but our research shows that there is still work to be done. The findings from this study are crucial to the EAC’s efforts in equipping state and local election officials with the resources and guidance they need to plan for assisting voters with disabilities and making sure their polling places are fully accessible,” said EAC Chairwoman Christy McCormick.


“Improving the accessibility of elections for eligible voters is central to the mission of the U.S. Election Assistance Commission, and this study is a crucial benchmark to track our progress year-over-year and identify areas of improvement. The EAC is committed to supporting election officials as they serve voters with disabilities and use this study to develop resources, guidance, and best practices for voters,” said EAC Vice Chair Benjamin Hovland.


“Tracking the experiences of voters with disabilities allows us to see the significant progress in making elections more accessible. We also know that Americans with disabilities still experience voting difficulties for a variety of reasons,” said Professor Lisa Schur, Co-Director of the Rutgers Program for Disability Research. “Our latest research reveals that people with disabilities still vote at a lower rate than the people without disabilities, making it essential for election officials to invest in their programming for voters with disabilities.”


Through the Help America Vote Act of 2002, 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, the EAC aims to improve accessibility and to ensure an independent and private vote for all. The EAC plans to develop more resources addressing the findings of this study in the near future.

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The U.S. Election Assistance Commission (EAC) was established by the Help America Vote Act of 2002 (HAVA). It is an independent, bipartisan commission charged with ensuring secure, accurate and accessible elections by developing guidance to meet HAVA requirements, adopting voluntary voting system guidelines, and serving as a national clearinghouse of information on election administration. The EAC also accredits testing laboratories and certifies voting systems, as well as administers the use of HAVA funds. For more information, visit    


About the Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations 

The Rutgers School of Management and Labor Relations (SMLR) is the world’s leading source of expertise on managing and representing workers, designing effective organizations, and building strong employment relationships. SMLR’s Program for Disability Research studies the economic, social, and political inclusion of people with disabilities.