It's a human right
Friday 13 February 2015

Polling Station SignAs you’ll probably be aware, this year sees a general election take place on 7 May. Will you be voting? How about people with a learning disability, will they be voting?

The right to vote is a human right, something each and every one of us is entitled to do, so why do so few people with disabilities actually vote? Perhaps it’s down to a lack of understanding or accessible information, or perhaps we don’t bother tackling the subject as it’s easier to simply avoid it. Either way, is that good enough?

We all have a duty to ensure people we support become citizens of their community and voting is a fundamental part of citizenship.

Voting is also about digesting and understanding each party’s manifesto, so an informed choice can be made. This is tough enough for most but imagine doing this if you have a learning disability or if you can’t read. The Learning Disability Alliance website provides lots of useful voting information which may help explain key issues.

You can also call the Electoral Commission on 020 7271 0592 or 020 7271 0728 for further guidance.

There are three different ways to vote; going to the polling station, voting by post and voting by proxy, which is where someone else votes on your behalf. Every polling station should be able to provide a large print version of a ballot paper and a tactile voting device - a plastic device that is fixed onto the ballot paper - so people with a visual impairment or limited dexterity can mark their own ballot paper in secret.

Voting day will soon be upon us so let’s commit to supporting people to exercise their human rights and citizenship. Let’s not take the easy option.

Matt Boyle
Communications Events Manager