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Jacqui Jacqui Jobson, Advocacy Director

A General Election has been announced and will happen on 12 December 2019. The deadline to register to vote and to register to vote by post is midnight 26 November 2019. During this time we have an opportunity to make a difference by supporting people who may be disenfranchised from voting without our support.

I have just returned from the National Advocacy Conference feeling inspired and emboldened to fight for social justice and equality for everyone. I’ve been thinking about the most basic right that some of us take for granted, which is the right to cast our vote and have a say in who governs our country.

We might groan and say ‘they’ are all the same, or we might be an active member of a party. Either way, we take for granted that we can choose to use our right to vote by simply registering to vote, filling in the paper work and then showing up on the day.

But for thousands of people this issue is not a simple one.

It is estimated that 1 in 4 people with a Learning Disability are not registered to vote.

It is assumed that many people who are in care homes will not have capacity to vote when the law is clear that everybody who is eligible should be registered irrespective of any illness or disability they may have and that there should be a presumption that a person has capacity to register to vote

The Electoral Commission report, “Elections For Everyone” 2019 recommended
  • there should be no barriers to voting for people with a disability
  • everyone should have the right to vote on their own and in secret
  • voting should be a good experience for everyone
  • People with disabilities need to know that they can vote and that they can have support to vote
  • care and support workers need to know how they can support the people they care for when they vote
  • people running elections need to understand the needs of people with disabilities so they can support them and make it easy for them to register to vote and to vote

People who are from communities who are seldom heard may feel so distant from the election, that they might not even know about their right to vote. People for whom English is not their first language may need additional support to register and understand the process.

Elections for Everyone

What can we do?
  1. Offer to support people to register to vote and campaign for those around you to do the same. Tell people that all they need is their National Insurance number, which is on their pay slip or benefits letter, and that you will support them to register. It only takes a few minutes with support! Advertise your offer, we have 26 days to act!
  2. Contact your local authority and ask them what actions they have taken to make sure people who may have difficulty registering online can be supported. (This may be by phone or by asking at the local library or council customer service) Check here for who to contact for Electoral Services in your Local Authority https://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/i-am-a/voterAsk your local hospitals and care homes about what action they are taking to ensure people in their care are registered to vote and have made arrangements to either vote by proxy or post
  3. Use Social Media to raise awareness #RegisterToVote #Elections4Everyone #HearMyVoice #AdvocacyWorks Keep the Electoral Commission in the loop of your activism in this area @ElectoralCommUK
Resources

Thanks go to the Electoral Commission who produce some great resources!

If anyone has any other useful information, contact me on This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. as I am happy to add to the resources above.