Disability Rights and Election Observation: Increasing Access to the Political Process

Publication Date: 
21 Dec 2017

Publication Type:

IFES Senior Access and Inclusion Specialist Virginia Atkinson, Senior Inclusion Officer Rebecca Aaberg, and Senior Global Electoral Adviser Staffan Darnolf contributed an article on "Disability Rights and Election Observation: Increasing Access to the Political Process," to Volume 35 of the Nordic Journal of Human Rights

This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in the Nordic Journal of Human Rights on December 15, 2017, available here.

According to the World Health Organization and the World Bank, people with disabilities comprise approximately 15 percent of the world’s population – however, these one billion people are often excluded from political life. Disability-inclusive election observation provides the opportunity to address barriers to political participation and to empower men and women with disabilities to serve in leadership roles. This paper will summarize the key international and regional standards that outline the political rights of people with disabilities and explore the extent to which international electoral observation missions (IEOMs) are inclusive. It will review observation checklists, as well as available methodologies of IEOMs. Based on this review and the authors’ election access observation experience, this paper will identify areas where inclusion of people with disabilities in election observation could be improved, thereby leading to increased access to the political process.