Today, the Government announced plans to ensure that elections are more accessible for disabled voters.
Ismail Kaji is a Parliamentary Support Officer at Mencap and a Spokesperson with a learning disability. He says
“At Mencap, we have been sharing the views of people with a learning disability with the Government so that they understand how difficult it can often be to vote. So we are very pleased to see the Government’s response to the consultation on improving access to elections and the positive actions they have agreed to take forward.
“There are a million people with a learning disability of voting age but sadly many feel excluded from the national debate and often aren’t supported to have their say at elections. For example, information about voting isn’t always available in an ‘Easy Read’ format so registering can be confusing, or people can miss out on the support they need on voting day.
“The Government and other organisations need to make sure the registration process is truly accessible, for example by making sure easy read information is available and making sure staff in polling stations have the right training to know how to help.
“Not all people with a learning disability and their families know their rights when it comes to voting, so we are really happy to see that the Accessibility Working Group will be looking at how to improve awareness of this.
“If all the steps in this report are put into action then people with a learning disability will feel much more included and be able to get involved with the political system which affects so much of our lives.”
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact the Mencap press office on 020 7696 5414 or email@example.com or for out of hours 07770 656 659.
Notes to editors
There are 1.4 million people with a learning disability in the UK. Mencap works to support people with a learning disability, their families and carers by fighting to change laws, improve services and access to education, employment and leisure facilities. Mencap supports thousands of people with a learning disability to live their lives the way they want.
For advice and information about learning disability and Mencap services in your area, contact hte Learning Disability Helpline on 0808 808 1111 (9am-5pm, Monday-Friday) or email firstname.lastname@example.org
What is a learning disability?
A learning disability is a reduced intellectual ability which can cause problems with everyday tasks – for example shopping and cooking, or travelling to new places – which affects someone for their whole life.
People with a learning disability can take longer to learn new things and may need support to develop new skills, understand difficult information and engage with other people. The level of support someone needs is different with every individual. For example, someone with a severe learning disability might need much more support with daily tasks than someone with a mild learning disability.
Learning disability is not a mental illness or a learning difficulty. Very often the term ‘learning difficulty’ is wrongly used interchangeably with ‘learning disability’.