The Center for An Accessible Society Disability Issues Information









National Voter Registration Act not being used for people with disabilities, says study

A survey of 196 private non-profit disability agencies has found that over half (54%) are "not attempting to meet the requirements of the National Voter Registration Act," which calls for agencies to register individuals to vote. The study was funded by the National Institute on Disability and Rehabilitation Research, as part of a three-year grant called "The Empowerment Project".

The study also found that

  • 69% of agencies do not offer registration at intake.
  • 58% of agencies report having registered fewer than 1% of their consumers in the last year.
  • 31% of responding agencies have not even heard of the NVRA.
  • Yet all of the agencies "that were informed of their legal obligation to implement the NVRA by a state agency are attempting to implement NVRA requirements," says the study's principal investigator, Kay Schriner. "In this study, this is the best predictor of whether an agency will attempt to implement the NVRA," she said.

    "Further analysis shows that the 2nd best predictor of whether an agency is attempting to implement the NVRA is whether they had heard of the NVRA, from any source. "The most promising strategy for improving NVRA implementation at disability agencies appears to be for state agencies to inform disability agencies that they are required to implement the NVRA provisions. These state agencies could be funding agencies, state election officials, or the Secretary of State.

    For more information, contact the study's principal investigator, Research Fellow Kay Schriner., Ph.D., Fulbright Institute of International Relations, University of Arkansas at 501.575.6417 (direct) or 501.575.2006 (receptionist).






    Kay Schriner and Douglas Kruse have conducted a number of studies about voting access and persons with disabilities.

    Kay Schriner, Ph.D., Department of Political Science
    University of Arkansas
    501-575-6417 (direct)
    501-575-3356 (reception)

    Douglas Kruse, School of Management and Labor Relations
    Rutgers University

    The Trace R&D Center was formed in 1971 to address the communication needs of people who are nonspeaking and have severe disabilities. Its director is Gregg Vanderheiden.
    Gregg Vanderheiden
    Trace Research and Development Center
    (608) 263-2309



    The following sites contain information that may be of interest. Please bear in mind that the information at these sites is not controlled by the Center for An Accessible society. Links to these sites do not imply that the Center supports either the organizations or the views presented.
    The Project on Disability Politics at the University of Arkansas looks at political participation of people with disabilities, voting rights laws affecting people with disabilities and disability in American campaigns and elections.

    "Voters with disabilities face discrimination nationwide," A report in the November/December 2000 issue of Ragged Edge magazine

    The Trace Research & Development Center's efforts to make electronic voting machines easier to use for the average citizen, our aging population and people with disabilities can be found at

    The National Organization on Disability's "Getting Out The Disability Vote" campaign has background and commentary






    Expert sources

    Election reform legislation and access

    Voting in America -- commentary

    Accessible voting machines

    Polling sites remain inaccessible


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