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Helping more people to vote

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A new campaign, ‘Every Vote Counts’ was launched recently in the House of Commons to encourage more people with learning disabilities to vote in national and local elections. Funded by the Electoral Commission, the disability charity ‘United Response’ has examined why so many people with learning disabilities are excluded from the democratic process. Their study revealed that as few as 16% of people with learning disabilities voted in the last election, compared with a national turnout of 61%. 


Meg Munn said:


“Across England 500,000 people who have the capacity to vote are not voting, more than half of all people with learning disabilities.  Many people with learning disabilities do not vote because they are unaware of their right to do so, or find the system complex.


I hope that this campaign will encourage people to vote and have their say in the future of their country.”  


Su Sayer OBE, United Response founder and chief executive said:


“People with learning disabilities are affected by decisions made at a national and local level in the same way as everyone else. Yet information about the democratic process is often presented in a way which is confusing and full of jargon. As a result, many people who would like to vote currently find themselves excluded, something we hope this campaign will change during the 2010 election and beyond.”


A website was also launched www.everyvotecounts.org.uk which includes easy-read explanations of democracy and voting for people with learning disabilities. It also includes a five point guide for MPs hoping to make their own information more accessible.


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