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Published: 2015-04-21
Nr 2015:113

Facts

Election participation among persons with disabilities has never been studied in Sweden before. This study is the first of its kind. Because there is no standardised definition for persons with disabilities in Sweden and different surveys measure disabilities in different ways, this is a pilot study.

Less participation among persons with disabilities

Election participation was somewhat lower among persons with disabilities compared with the rest of the Swedish population. This was noted in the European Parliament election as well as the Riksdag election in 2014.

Ballots

Election participation in the European Parliament election was 49 percent among those with disabilities, compared with 53 percent for the rest of the population. The corresponding figures for the Riksdag election were 85 and 88 percent respectively. This difference in voter participation among persons with disabilities and others is most apparent among those aged 65 and older, as well as among single persons.

Election participation varies with the type of disability

The group of persons with disabilities is heterogeneous; if we study election participation by type of disability, we see that persons with reduced mobility, disorders from anxiety and distress, and those with impaired vision voted to a lesser extent than people without these disorders and disabilities in the 2014 election.

Reduced mobility

Persons with reduced mobility voted to a lesser extent compared with persons without reduced mobility in the European Parliament election as well as the Riksdag election in 2014. The lowest election participation was among those with serious reduced mobility, 64 percent in the Riksdag election and 30 percent in the European Parliament election, compared with 88 and 53 percent respectively among those without reduced mobility.

Disorders from worry and distress

Analyses of election participation among persons who have disorders of anxiety, worry or distress show that election participation was lowest among those who have serious disorders and highest among those who do not have disorders at all.

Election participation among persons with serious disorders in the Riksdag election was 82 percent, compared with 89 percent among those without any disorders. The corresponding shares for the European Parliament were 43 percent compared with 54 percent.

Impaired vision

The study shows a difference in the 2014 elections between persons with and without impaired vision; persons with impaired vision vote to a lesser extent. The difference in election participation can also be noted in the European Parliament election and the Riksdag election in 2014.

In the Riksdag election, 85 percent of those eligible to vote who had impaired vision voted, compared with 88 percent of those who did not have any impaired vision. The corresponding shares for the European Parliament were 43 percent compared with 53 percent.

Supplementary analysis

A supplementary analysis of election participation in the Riksdag election in 2006 and the European Parliament election in 2009 based on the survey of the situation on the labour market among persons with disabilities confirms the picture of lower election participation among persons with disabilities compared with the rest of the population. We can even see that the difference among persons with disabilities and others is greater among those who are not employed, compared with those who are employed.

This analysis shows that election participation was lowest among persons with developmental disabilities. Election participation in the 2006 Riksdag election was 43 percent in this group, which is about half as much as election participation for the rest of the population.

Election participation was also lower compared to the rest of the population among persons who had asthma, dyslexia, cardiovascular disease, lung disease, mental disabilities, reduced mobility, stuttering, language and speech difficulties as well as persons with reduced vision/blindness.

In the 2009 European Parliament election, participation was lower among persons with epilepsy, gastrointestinal disease, psoriasis, mental disabilities and reduced mobility compared with the rest of the population.

More about the study

Within the frame for this assignment, election participation for the 2014 elections is analysed based on Statistics Sweden's surveys on living conditions. Information about election participation has been collected from the electoral register. Information about election participation among persons with disabilities, corresponding to that which has been produced for the 2014 elections, is not available for previous years, and therefore we cannot make an analysis over time.

To expand the analysis, the study has been supplemented with information about election participation in the 2006 Riksdag election and the 2009 European Parliament election based on the Swedish Public Employment Service's survey of the situation on the labour market among persons with disabilities. The surveys differ both concerning the definition of disability and the types of disabilities that are studied.

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