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Do people with disabilities participate less in elections than others as a result of their disability? The question is an important one, at a time when electoral sociologists are arguing that election outcomes depend primarily on unequal capacities to mobilize among different segments of the electorate. Those with the greatest resources, economically and culturally, are better able to vote, and can therefore ensure that their own interests and demands receive greater consideration. This can have a substantial influence on taxation and other areas of public policy. By contrast, high non-registration and abstention rates mean that other voter groups (such as the working classes and ethnic minorities) lose the ability to influence public policy through voting. By measuring inequality of voting opportunity, and revealing its underlying causes, we deepen our understanding of public policy, widening social inequalities, and the delegation of power in modern democracies.
People with disabilities form the “largest minority group,” and, by understanding how likely or unlikely such individuals are to vote, we can deepen our understanding of the conditions and mechanisms by which individuals are excluded from voting. Using a range of research methods and definitions of disability, a number of studies have already demonstrated a “disability gap” among American voters, showing that those with disabilities vote less often—sometimes significantly so—than those without. This gap can be as high as 21 percent…

Pierre-Yves Baudot
Pierre-Yves Baudot is a professor of sociology at the Université Paris-Dauphine/PSL and a researcher at the Institut de recherche interdisciplinaire en sciences sociales (IRISSO) (Institute for Interdisciplinary Social Sciences Research) (CNRS/INRA). His work focuses on disability policy, the politics of rights, and tools of government of state reform. His recent publications include “Layering Rights: The Case of Disability Policies in France (2006–2016),” Social Policy and Society 17, no. 1 (2018): 117–31 (IRISSO, Université Paris-Dauphine, place du Maréchal-de-Lattre-de-Tassigny, 75775 Paris cedex 16).
Marie-Victoire Bouqueta
Marie-Victoire Bouquet is a postdoctoral fellow at the Institut de recherche interdisciplinaire en sciences sociales (IRISSO), investigating the management of vulnerable populations by government and non-government bodies. Since 2017, her work has dealt with the effects of such management on voter turnout, and the relationship of individuals with disabilities to politics. With Pierre-Yves Baudot, she has recently published “L’enjeu et le mouvement: comment les acteurs du handicap ont structuré l’organisation d’En Marche!,” in L’entreprise Macron, eds. Bernard Dolez, Julien Fretel, and Rémi Lefebvre (Grenoble: Presses universitaires de Grenoble, 2019), 65–78 (IRISSO, Université Paris-Dauphine, place du Maréchal-de-Lattre-de-Tassigny, 75775 Paris cedex 16).
Céline Braconnier
Céline Braconnier is a professor of political science and the director of Sciences Po Saint-Germain-en-Laye. She is a researcher at the Centre de recherches sociologiques sur le droit et les institutions pénales (CESDIP) (Center for Sociological Research on Law and Penal Institutions). Her recent publications include, with Jean-Yves Dormagen and Vincent Pons, “Voter Registration Costs and Disenfranchisement: Experimental Evidence from France,” American Political Science Review 111, no. 3 (2017): 584–604. Her work focuses on voter turnout and relationships with the state (Sciences Po Saint-Germain-en-Laye, 5 rue Pasteur, 78100 Saint-Germain-en-Laye).
Ghislain Gabalda
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