Protecting Their Votes

Person in a wheelchair with bright fuschia hair using their computer with title text "Protecting Their Votes"

It’s Time For Missouri To Make It Easier For People With Disabilities To Vote

This week, elderly Missourians and Missourians with disabilities are challenging a new voter ID law that makes it harder for them to vote.

But overturning this anti-democratic law should be just the beginning. If Missouri politicians want to work for adults with disabilities, they have a long way to go in earning their trust and building a state that works for them.

Missouri’s Voting Laws Make It Harder For Adults With Disabilities To Vote

Even without restrictive voting laws like those found in Missouri, adults with disabilities face more barriers to voting than adults without disabilities. National research from earlier this year found that 18% of voters with disabilities have difficulty waiting in line to vote, compared to only 11% of voters without disabilities. Voters with disabilities are more than twice as likely as voters without disabilities to say they have difficulty getting to their polling place.

In Missouri, anti-democratic voting laws make it harder for people with disabilities. The voter ID law currently in the courts has a disproportionate effect on voters with disabilities, who are almost twice as likely not to have photo ID than voters without disabilities.

According to Brianna Lennon, the County Clerk for Boone County, county election authorities don’t get the necessary funding to train election workers on how to help voters with disabilities or to fix broken equipment. State law also doesn’t require accessible voting equipment at every polling place.

Finally, Missouri’s absentee voting requirements present unique challenges to voters with disabilities. Missouri requires mail-in ballots to be received by election day with notarization, which is uniquely challenging for adults with disabilities who must rely on caregivers or paratransit services.

What Can Politicians Do About It?

61% of voters with disabilities do not believe that public officials and politicians care about what people with disabilities think. If politicians want to change that perception, it’s on them to expand access to the ballot box.

We’re calling on politicians to:

  • Stop supporting and proposing anti-democratic voter ID laws that disproportionately impact people with disabilities.
  • Fully fund local election authorities so they can train election workers and provide accessible polling places and voting equipment.
  • Expand access to mail-in voting to make it easier for voters with disabilities to vote by mail.
  • Expand the in-person absentee voting period to the national average of 20 days, as voters with disabilities are more likely to have difficulty with reliable transportation and consistent schedules.

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