Causes and Effects of Enfranchisement of People with Intellectual Disabilities

Moritz Raykowski

In democracies, the negotiation about who belongs to the electorate is of political consequence for elections and signals the understanding of the latter. Decisions regarding the right to vote are not eternal. Many states exclude people with intellectual disabilities from voting. Nevertheless, in international comparison, the granting of voting rights takes place through parliamentary or constitutional processes. The reasons for reforms and their consequences for political interest and voting behavior are insufficiently researched. Traditional theories and models of rights allocation do not explain this development. The goals of this project are the collection and analysis of reform processes across countries as well as the measurement of changes in interest and voting behavior due to the acquisition of the right to vote. The research agenda consists of qualitative and quantitative projects that seek answers to the causes, effects, and mechanisms of voting rights allocation. A new dataset for the longitudinal analysis of reforms is introduced, and explanations for a reform process by a constitutional court are collected and analyzed. The individual consequences of having or not having voting rights are captured. The results will help to gain a deep understanding and a long-term perspective on voting rights reforms and their effects.

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