San Diego International Law Journal

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Article addresses the question of the right to vote of persons with disabilities in light of the recent case-law of the European Court of Human Rights. The approach of the Court is critiqued from a general perspective of non-discrimination as well as tested against Article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which provides for the right to vote as a foundational element of the participation in political and public life of persons with disabilities. This Article maintains that the European Court of Human Rights’ approach, instead of creating the conditions for equality and inclusion, effectively acts as a further barrier to the access of persons with disabilities to society on an equal footing with all others. By reaffirming the states’ margin of appreciation and leaving the decision on the extent to which persons with disabilities can exercise the right to vote, the European Court of Human Rights renounces its role as the guardian of human rights in the system of the Council of Europe, and allows for the perpetuation of the discriminatory aspects of international and domestic law that have historically affected persons with disabilities.