Iowa ranks among the top states in the nation in terms of disabled people who vote, though an advocacy group says there’s still a ways to go. Rik Shannon is spokesman for the group “Iowans with Disabilities in Action” or I-D Action. While Iowa ranks number eight in the country according to the survey from the American Association of People with Disabilities, Shannon says there’s still a lot of room for improvement. Fewer than half of all disabled Iowans vote. He says nationally, the figures are distressing — anywhere between 60 and 70-percent of Americans with disabilities have -not- voted in the last two presidential elections. He says if people with disabilities voted at the same rate as other Americans, an additional four-million votes would be cast in this year’s election. Shannon says there are about 450-thousand Iowans with some sort of disability and about 406-thousand of them are of voting age. Of those, about half, or 48-point-six percent, voted in the 2000 election. Among able-bodied adults in Iowa, Shannon says about 61-percent voted that same year. He says it’s clear there’s still a “huge disparity of political involvement.” He says people with disabilities identify several types of barriers that keep them from voting, things like physical barriers that restrict access to polling places, as well as a lack of confidence and a lack of information about the candidates and issues. Shannon says I-D Action hopes to encourage Iowans with disabilities to engage politically and civically. More information, surf to “www.idaction.org”.
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