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Research Unveils Unmet Needs of People with Disabilities at the Ballot Box

Pathways Study Details Engagement and Satisfaction Levels during Election Process

As part of an ongoing effort to increase transparency and awareness for individuals with disabilities, the Pathways for Greater Inclusion of People with Disabilities Study (Pathways Study) today released details of satisfaction and engagement levels during the U.S. voting process. According to the data jointly published by Lightspeed All Global and DisABILITYincites, only 56% of people with disabilities voted in a local, state or federal election within the past 12 months.

The Pathways Study found people with invisible disabilities, such as learning disabilities, are almost twice as likely to vote as people with visible disabilities. Individuals with sensory disabilities (e.g., deafness/hard of hearing, 4.7% and blindness/low vision, 5%) voted the least in the past 12 months, followed by people who use a wheelchair or a scooter (7.5%). Approximately 20% of people with cognitive disabilities (e.g., brain injuries, genetic disabilities, dyslexia, attention deficit hyperactivity and other learning disabilities) voted in the past 12 months.

Representing more than one-fifth of the U.S. voting population, people with disabilities also ranked satisfaction levels of their individual experience. Website accessibility ranked the highest, followed by the physical environment of voting facilities. People with disabilities consistently ranked satisfaction with phone support last. Only one-third of voters with dexterity impairments (paralysis, cerebral palsy, or carpal tunnel), 38% of voters with blindness or low vision and 45% of voters who use a wheelchair or scooter were satisfied with the phone support they received.

DisABILITYincites Founder and Executive Director, Tonya Deniz, stated “The U.S. election process empowers citizens to exercise their right to vote. People with disabilities vary in terms of their overall voting experience. Given their size of 57 million, people with disabilities represent a large voting block; however, many are left feeling disenfranchised when it comes to casting their vote. Despite laws, such as the Americas with Disabilities Act, people with disabilities feel deeply dissatisfied with the voting process due to the barriers to access.”

David Bilicic, Lightspeed All Global’s Vice President, commented, “There are significant barriers voters with disabilities encounter. It is evident this research points to the importance of meaningful action enabling all U.S. citizens access to a voter experience that encourages consistent participation.”

About the Pathways for Greater Inclusion of People with Disabilities Study
In August 2014, Kantar owned Lightspeed, in partnership with the nonprofit disABILITYincites, used a sample of 5,000 people with disabilities to conduct Pathways for Greater Inclusion of People with Disabilities. This groundbreaking study which represents the largest disability panel ever assembled and the most comprehensive market research study ever conducted about people with disabilities, examines, the segment’s consumption behaviors, including voting in state and federal elections, and their accessibility challenges. To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the passing of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), results from the Pathways for Greater Inclusion Study will be made available in mid-2015.

About Lightspeed All Global
Lightspeed All Global provides healthcare professional and patient community solutions, utilizing a powerful healthcare panel. With a long heritage as an innovator in healthcare research, Lightspeed All Global offers high quality healthcare research services for top global research companies and agencies across Europe, North and South America and Asia-Pacific. Employing a combination of research methodologies – qualitative and quantitative, online and traditional, Lightspeed All Global’s reach expands to more than 450,000 general practitioners and specialists worldwide.

Headquartered in New York and London, Lightspeed All Global is a brand of the Lightspeed Group and part of Kantar, the data investment management arm of WPP, the world leader in marketing communication services. For more information, visit www.lightspeed-health.com.

About disABILITYincites
DisABILITYincites is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) that promotes research about consumers with disabilities in an effort to level the playing field for 57 million people with disabilities. The company is the only one of its kind to provide research development, technical services and research advocacy specific to eradicating the exclusion of people with disabilities from the on-going, comprehensive market research investigations that are conducted daily in the US to ascertain the unmet needs of the general population and sub-segments. With viable solutions in the form of new products and services borne out of research that reveals their unique challenges, people with disabilities can live more independently and embrace their aspirations while more fully participating in all areas of life.

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