In The Politics of Autism, I write: "Support from the general public will be an important political asset for autistic people. Another will be their sheer numbers, since a larger population of identified autistic adults will mean more autistic voters and activists."
Analysis of the 2022 Disability and Voting Accessibility Survey, based on representative samples of citizens with and without disabilities eligible to vote in the November 2022 elections, indicates similar voting accessibility as in the comparable 2020 survey and greater accessibility than in the 2012 survey. The disability sample includes people with a range of disabilities based on Census Bureau measures. Some key results include the following:
Following the substantial drop from 2012 to 2020 in voting difficulties among people with disabilities (documented in our previous report), there was a slight uptick in 2022. This is partly explained by a shift toward voting in polling places in 2022, following the low rate of polling place voting in 2020 due to the pandemic. Voting difficulties are generally more likely in polling places than in voting by mail. The shift partly reflects reversals of eased pandemic-related voting rules in 2020. Another explanation includes changes in the composition of the voting electorate between 2020 and 2022, particularly a small increase in disability severity that may reflect the effects of long Covid. This report reviews other key results contained in 35 tables, making comparisons to the 2020 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
- People with disabilities voted at a 3.6% lower rate overall than people without disabilities in 2022.
- About one in seven voters with disabilities encountered difficulties voting in 2022, which was a slight increase from the one in nine voters with disabilities who encountered difficulties in 2020.
- 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.
- Voting difficulties were most common among people with vision and cognitive impairments.
- Close to three-fifths of voters with disabilities voted with a mail ballot or early in person in 2022, compared to just over half of voters without disabilities. The shift in mail voting between 2020 and 2022 was similar between voters with and without disabilities.
- Voters with disabilities were similar to voters without disabilities in perceived treatment by election officials, confidence that their votes were accurately counted in 2022, and the extent to which they report following politics.