Every five years, people from each country in Europe vote in the European Elections to decide who will be members of the European Parliament, which makes decisions on which laws to enforce, change or remove across all European countries.

Last week’s European and local elections took place across Europe and proved a daunting prospect for many thanks to the high number of candidates, while much was made in the media of the need to engage with young people ahead of the vote. But a sense of exclusion can inhibit many marginalised groups, notably those with learning disabilities, from voting at all.

As part of our Every Vote Counts campaign, we want to highlight the importance of including those with learning disabilities in voting by improving access to and understanding of the democratic process.

Our Election Journey Planner identifies barriers faced by disenfranchised groups, such as those with learning disabilities, when voting and how to overcome these, and explains that providing accessible information on the voting process is a vital first step towards increasing participation.

That is why we launched Easy News last year, a free news magazine that uses simple text and images to report what is happening in current affairs.

At the time of the launch, only 31 per cent of readers felt that politics made a difference to their lives compared with 78 per cent of readers a year later, a 150 per cent rise, while 90 per cent find Easy News easier to understand that other newspapers or news on TV. This suggests that a greater understanding of the basic workings of politics and news within the political system breeds greater enthusiasm for political involvement.

With this in mind, we have published our second special edition of Easy News, this time offering details of the results of the European elections. This gives people with learning disabilities the opportunity to find out about the issues creating public debate, while ensuring they are involved in discussions around the Government and societal change.

Download a copy of the Election Journey Planner

For more information on Every Vote Counts, sign up to our enewsletter by sending an email to [email protected]

Gemma Taylor, media assistant