Every Vote Counts, our campaign aimed at making politics accessible, works to encourage people with learning disabilities and their supporters to get involved in politics and exercise their right to vote. Our set of resources each provide useful information to make politics easier to understand and this blog covers the final booklet, which offers practical advice to supporters on how to avoid bias and what the law says on mental capacity and voting.

Our series of booklets have been created to help people with learning disabilities think about how politics affects everyday life and how best to become involved in the public debate about political issues.

For supporters, it is important to open up a discussion about the different areas of people’s lives that are affected by politics, so that the person you support is better informed on the issues and well prepared to vote.

Our supporter’s booklet also details three key practice issues that were identified in the original Every Vote Counts campaign as causes for concern for some people: advocacy, bias and influence, and mental capacity.

Ensuring that the person you support understands their rights, from having the right to exercise their vote to sharing their views on issues that impact their lives, is crucial. Supporters and families of people with learning disabilities can advocate for them by contacting local MPs and attending meetings on the person’s behalf, to make sure that the person’s voice is heard and considered irrespective of their communications skills.

Presenting information in an unbiased way is also critical, and supporters should remember not to influence the decisions of others with their own views. Every Vote Counts hopes to encourage supporters to assist in the voting process and seeks to work with politicians to publish easy read manifestos that provide unbiased and clear information.

At its core, the campaign seeks to emphasise the fact that people with a learning disability have the same right to vote as everyone else, whatever their level of capacity. It is important to remember that a person can select who to vote for according to whatever criteria they choose, and parents and support workers cannot make decisions for the person in this situation.

The law also states that voting via a proxy can be arranged only if the person has the mental capacity to appoint one. To find out more on what the law says, visit the Electoral Commission website for more details.

If you would like to learn more about how best to support someone to vote, order a copy of our resources or sign up to our Every Vote Counts enewsletter.

We would welcome your comments on whether you find the booklets useful so, to share your thoughts on the resources, please email us.

Gemma Taylor, media assistant.