CNN reported Monday that the Justice Department has blocked the state of Texas' voter ID law, which opponents charged would not only affect the poor and minorities, but also disabled voters. According to the U.S. Census' Facts for Features, there are some 54 million people in the nation who have a disability. That's roughly one in six Americans.
Here's more information on those who have disabilities and their recent and potential impact on U.S. politics.
* According to the Kentucky Office for the Americans with Disabilities Act, 25 million out of the 35 million disabled Americans of voting age are registered to vote.
* The U.S. Census Bureau's figures from the 2010 American Community Survey show that some 25.5 percent of the nation's approximately 21.4 million veterans have a disability.
* States are implementing measures to help those with disabilities vote. For instance, in November, The New York Times reported that the state of Oregon became the first state to begin allowing those with disabilities to vote with iPads, beginning with a five-county primary election. 89 voters took advantage of this option.
* The Boise Weekly reported that in 2008, 14.9 million folks with disabilities voted, which was 3.9 million-plus more than in 2004.
* The Democratic Strategist reported on a 2008 final pre-election Harris Poll showing that disabled voters favored then-Illinois Sen. Barack Obama over Arizona Sen. John McCain by a 50 percent to 44 percent margin.
* Per the above Boise Weekly article, Nicole Lang, who works for The Arc, a disability organization in Boise, Idaho, said one of the biggest challenges for disability advocacy organizations is to "make sure people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are aware that, number one, they have a right to vote. We need to show them how to register and explain their rights."
* It's politically lethal for politicians to use racial slurs, but for the disability community, calling anyone the "R-word," that is, "retarded" or "retard," is considered "hate speech," per the R-Word.org website.
* In 2010, ABC News reported that then-White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emmanuel apologized to the Special Olympics head Tim Shriver for calling some liberal activists "f****** retarded."
* Disabled people are politically active just like the non-disabled. WWLP-TV reported March 7 that hundreds of disability activists rallied at the Massachusetts State House to protest proposed 2013 budget cuts to services for the disabled, including those regarding transportation.
* Furthermore, Disability Scoop reported that 150 disability activists met with Obama Administration officials at the White House in February, which included a short speech by the president, who said in part, "I've got your back and I'm looking forward to working with you for many years to come."