What determines voter turnout? Lessons from citizens with disabilities

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45 Scopus citations


Objective. Disability affects resources and other factors associated with political participation. This study examines the relative importance of these factors by analyzing voter turnout among people with d sabilities. Methods. This study uses the Current Population Survey and a survey of people with spinal cord injuries (SCI), with data on 1992 presidential election voter turnout. It compares voting rates and determinants between the general population and people with SCI, and links voter turnout to disability characteristics. Results. Voter turnout among people with SCI was 10 percentage points lower than among otherwise-similar people in the general population. Employed people with SCI were just as likely as other employed people to vote, while turnout was strongly depressed among the two-thirds of people with SCI who were not employed. Within the SCI sample, turnout was higher among people who are able to drive and who attend religious services, and was not affected by severity of injury. Conclusions. The results highlight the importance of employment and general mobility for voter turnout. Further research on the low turnout of nonemployed people with disabilities is warranted. Future turnout levels will probably be affected by the success of the ADA and other policies in increasing employment of the one in five Americans with disabilities.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)571-587
Number of pages17
JournalSocial Science Quarterly
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2000

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Sciences(all)


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