Election Resources for People with Learning Disabilities
by M Jane (@pancake_puns) on October 31, 2019



People with learning disabilities are systematically excluded from the democratic process at every stage. Research by Mencap in 2014 found that while 70% of people with learning disabilities said they wanted to vote in the future, 43% have felt prevented from voting. Of these, 60% said that they have not voted in the past because registering to vote was too difficult, and - shockingly - 17% said they were turned away at the polling station for having a learning disability. Even if they are able to cast a vote, people with LDs are often deprived of their right to make an informed decision, with political parties failing to publish their manifestos in accessible reading formats until very late. In 2017, the Conservatives published their Easy Read manifesto just 7 days before the election, giving people who need Easy Read formats significantly less time to read it than everyone else.1 As a survey respondent in the 2017 Electoral Commission report said, “it is very hard to make up my mind if I am rushed”.

The full enfranchisement of people with LDs is urgently necessary, regardless of how they choose to vote. With that said, however, people with LDs are among the groups most sharply affected by austerity, with vital social care, education and local services systematically dismantled since 2010. If we are committed to undoing the harm caused by austerity and offering a transformative alternative, we must make sure that this 1 million-strong group of voters has access to information about Labour’s anti-austerity policies, and we must fight to ensure that they are able to influence policies that directly affect their lives.

The collection of Easy Read election resources is available here and will be updated through the election campaign.


  1. The corresponding numbers for the other main parties in the 2017 GE are:
    Lib Dems 22 days before the election
    Greens 17 days
    Labour 15 days
    SNP 6 days
    UKIP did not publish an Easy Read manifesto 


author

M Jane (@pancake_puns)

M is a practicing teacher and a researcher whose work focuses on the philosophy and politics of education.

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