|This month, national elections took place in Great-Britain During elections,|
people can vote for the political party and the politicians that they think should lead the country.
However, without easy-to-read information about all the different candidates and opinions that people can chose,
Mencap, a British organisation representing people with intellectual disabilities and their families,
In this way, people with intellectual disabilities knew who they could vote for,
In addition, Mencap also helps to protect the right to vote,
In the wake of the British general elections, the five biggest political parties in the UK have published accessible versions of their main standpoints. They have been created with the assistance of Mencap, to make people with intellectual disabilities aware of what political choices there are and to include them within the election process.
The easy-to-read versions are made up of simple language paired with pictures and illustrations, making it easier for people to understand each party’s views and goals.
Mencap has played a central role in producing the manifestos, having assisted and advised Labour, the Conservatives, the Liberal Democrats, The Greens and UKIP on the topic of easy-to-read.
The importance of accessible information concerning elections became all the more clear in May 2014, when no less than 64% of people with an intellectual disability indicated being discouraged to cast their vote during local elections. In order to resolve this, Ismail Kaji, Mencap’s Parliamentary Affairs Assistant, wrote to all Party Leaders successfully urging them to publish easy-to-read manifestos.
In a response, Kaji stated to be really pleased with the publications and that he thinks people with intellectual disabilities will feel more valued and will realize their vote really does count.
Linked to the British general elections and the topic of inclusion, Mencap launched its’ Hear my Voices -campaign. The initiative is meant to further stimulates people with intellectual disabilities into speaking up about the changes they want under the next British government.
Over 60 ‘Hear my voice’ events have been held across the UK, with 1,500 people participating.
The project also aims to end discrimination as, for example, 70% of people with an intellectual disability have said they wanted to vote, but that they were denied access to the polling station solely due to their disability. Mencap continues to battle this denial of their democratic right to vote. The organization has co-produced a guide explaining this right, as well as easy-to-read guides about the voting process.