Blog Conversation starters: Every Vote Counts talks encourage debate Every Vote Counts, our campaign designed to make politics accessible to all, particularly people with learning disabilities, was created to get people talking and learning more about politics. The campaign, relaunched last year following its success ahead of the 2010 General Election, aims in part to encourage politicians and political parties to create voting materials in an easy read format. This week, the team has been out and about with the aim of getting those conversations started. The team has presented a number of talks to increase awareness of democratic rights and how to learn more ahead of the Election in May. We went to Orchard Hill College in New Malden to meet with a small group of students, sharing information about what easy read is, how to vote, find out more about the political parties and how to hold politicians to account. The students had watched the news ahead of the talk and made notes on what news stories were of interest to them and why, before discussing as a group how each story related to politics and affected their own lives. Our Every Vote Counts resources were used for group work, and the students also read Easy News to gain a greater understanding of the format used. The group were engaged and interested in the topics and how these related to them, and even took part in a vote to explain which issues were most important to them. They have also signed up to the Easy News e-newsletter. Easy News, the world’s first easy read news magazine that uses simplified words and explanatory images to share news stories, aims to be an accessible source of news so that people who are thinking about voting can better understand current affairs and how politics affects them. If you would like to engage the people you support to learn more about news and politics, download our resources or, to share your story on what you are doing to support people to vote, email us at [email protected] We would love to hear from you. We were also invited to meet the West Sussex Learning Disability Providers Forum, and discussed with those that care for people with learning disabilities and commission services issues around avoiding bias and supporting people to vote. The feedback from such groups this week was incredibly positive and highlights once again the importance of this campaign. Gemma Taylor, media assistant.