Leading charities and political figures call for accessible voting for all
Barack Obama declared that “there is no such thing as a vote that does not matter”. Yet many people are still effectively excluded from exercising their vote.
There are approximately 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. But, a United Response survey in 2021 found that only two thirds of people knew that people with learning disabilities have a legal right to vote.
The same year a Dimensions survey found that 80% of people felt that polling stations weren’t accessible for people with a learning disability and 61% of people reported that polling station staff did not always make legally entitled reasonable adjustments. And, RNIB have serious concerns that the Elections Bill will fail to protect blind and partially sighted people’s right to vote independently and in secret.
Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) explains how disabled people will have their political rights guaranteed so they can enjoy them on an equal basis with others. This includes ensuring that voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand, and use.
As organisations and individuals we are committed to ensuring Article 29 of the UNCRPD is upheld.
To make sure disabled and autistic voters have their political rights guaranteed, and voting is an accessible process, for Accessible Voting Day on 3 March 2022 we are pledging to:
- Be allies and champion the right to vote for all disabled and autistic people
- Help promote the availability of manifestos and voting guides in accessible formats including easy read, braille and audio
- Listen to disabled and autistic people about their voting accessibility concerns and take action
Tim Cooper, CEO of United Response
Steve Scown, Chief Executive of Dimensions
Matt Stringer, CEO of RNIB
Richard Kramer, CEO of Sense and Sense International
Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester
Alex Norris MP, Shadow Minister for Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government
Mark Lee, Chief Executive of Together Trust
Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of VODG
Ruth Gorman, Chief Executive Officer of Imagine Act and Succeed
Karyn Kirkpatrick, CEO of KeyRing Living Support Networks
Kirsty Matthews, CEO of HFT
John Crawford, Chief Executive of Three Cs
Aisling Duffy, Chief Executive of Certitude
Edel Harris OBE, CEO of Mencap
Sarah Maguire, Chief Executive of Choice Support
Lisa Hopkins, Chief Executive of SeeAbility
Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK
Ruth Owen OBE, CEO of Leonard Cheshire
Scott Watkin MEB, Jordan Smith, Wendy Burt
Co-Chairs of Learning Disability England (LDE) Members’ Representative Body
Carmel Miedziolka, Chief Executive Officer of Area 51 Education
Sarah Burslem, CEO of MacIntyre
Claire Hilton, Managing Director of Unity Works
Lesley Dixon, Chief Executive of PSS
David Ellis, Chief Executive of National Star
Sue Livett, Managing Director of Aldingbourne Trust
Sarah Norman, Chief Executive of Barnsley Council
Sue Porto, Chief Executive of Brandon Trust