Sheffield campaign to help people with disabilities understand their right to vote

17 May 2017

A campaign to make voting accessible for people with learning disabilities and autism is taking place in Sheffield next week.

Love Your Vote is a scheme ran by Dimensions, one of the largest not-for-profit organisations in the UK, which supports people with learning disabilities, autism, challenging behaviour and complex needs.

The campaign aims to help people with learning disabilities to understand and exercise their rights to vote.

Andie Gbedemah, the public affairs officer, said: “Dimensions did some research that showed people with learning disabilities weren’t voting. This was because of misconceptions about entitlement to vote and also inaccessibility in terms of getting information about different parties and the process in general.”

Love Your Vote works alongside the Parliamentary Outreach Service by making people aware of the laws in a way that is easy to understand.

There are many preconceptions which can deter people from voting, but the campaign aims to abolish these ideas.

In each of the workshops, a variety of topics are discussed and made easier to understand by using images and refraining the use of jargon. They discuss that by law, polling stations are required to make adjustments when someone with a learning disability wants to vote.

This includes having someone that can read and mark the ballot paper on behalf of someone else.

Ms Gbedemah, said: “We believe it’s really important that people have the chance to vote, as there are many issues that impact people with learning disabilities and if they don’t get to raise their voice, then they can be overlooked in political decisions.”

She added: “Just like anyone, they have rights that must be respected and should be able to engage in the political process, without barriers.”

The location is yet to be determined, and the Love Your Vote team will be discussing how to get involved with the snap election in June.


Written by Hannah Daly

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