shared courtesy of Quartz
* * *
There is a lot of talk about groups of voters who will be crucial to electing the next US president. Many of these unnoticed or unappreciated voting groups—white women voters, working-class voters, Black voters, Latinx voters, and more—share many experiences that unite them. But people with disabilities have unique needs, and are often left out of the diversity conversations entirely.
If potential candidates want to strengthen their campaigns, they should start listening to us.
In 2016, one out of six people who were eligible to vote in the US had disabilities, ranging from cerebral palsy and autism to hearing loss, learning disorders, and ADHD. That’s a total of 35.4 million voters. But voter turnout for people with disabilities was very low—six percentage points lower than that of people without disabilities, in fact.
Despite misconceptions, it is not because we cannot vote. It is because we do not feel our votes matter. When you combine our populace with our loved ones and the people who care about the issues we care about—such as direct-support professionals—we are a powerful and largely untapped voting bloc. We could be a key voice in determining the 2020 election—if we feel compelled to go to the polls.