The Modern Fight for Disability Rights

Since the major gains made by the Voting Rights Act (1965) and the Rehabilitation Act (1973), progress on rights for people with disabilities has become more segmented again. Some groups have made specific progress while others have not or have pushed for different changes in policy.


American with Disabilities Act

The Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 made a number of strides in addressing the rights and opportunities of those with disabilities. It prohibits discrimination, increases employment opportunities and opens up access to state and local government programs and services. Learn more about how the legislation was passed by watching this PBS Special.

Modeled after the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the emphasis on public access to public buildings continues to be vitally important to ensuring that people with disabilities can fully participate in public spaces. This improvement for public access is one step toward solving voter turnout for those with disabilities, but as the above statistics show, more needs to be done.

Americans with Disability Act to Today

ADA to Today

Source: Twin Cities PBS

Ballot Access Case

In 2013, a federal court decided that blind voters must be given the right to have a private and independent vote in a case from Alameda County in California. Some individuals had been forced to dictate their votes after the audio program on the voting machines stopped working at multiple polling places. California Council of the Blind v. Alameda County.

The secret ballot A method of voting that ensures that all votes are cast in secret, so that the voter is not influenced by any other individual, and at the time of voting no one else knows who the voter chose is very important to voting in America and this case was another step toward guaranteeing it at all times.

Why Disability Voting Matters

There are 3 million people with disabilities who are eligible to vote but do not. With that much missing from their voice policies that benefit people with disabilities by creating equitable treatment Giving everyone what they need to be successful (Equality is treating everyone the same) in government or public places are less likely to emerge.

While people with disabilities make up about 15% of the U.S. population, they hold almost no federal offices. And those that are in office are even more rarely mentally disabled.

Voting is a voice for people who may be under guardianship or might have to spend a lot of time on medical worries and cannot be as involved with politics as their nondisabled counterparts.