The number of people with learning disabilities who voted in the general election increased by 10% to 43% of those eligible, a survey has found.
The survey, by disability charity United Response, followed up the charity’s recent ‘Every Vote Counts’ campaign to raise awareness of the voting rights of people with learning disabilities among potential voters and politicians.
As part of the campaign, free, unbiased resources were created, along with a website (www.everyvotecounts.org.uk) that aimed to make politics and voting easier to understand, by using simple words and helpful images to explain how politics affects the daily lives of disabled people. The resources were thought of as helpful by 71% of the survey’s respondents, with 33% visiting the website.
The survey also revealed the extent to which the campaign has reached out to new voters, with some 31% stating that they had voted for the first time, of which only 14% said this was due to age.
Shadow Minister for Disabled People, Kate Green MP, said: “I am very happy to hear there has been a big increase in the proportion of people with learning disabilities who voted and across all ages, not just people who were able to vote for the first time. It is important that people of all ages engage with politics. The campaign has given people the confidence to do so.
“I thought the [Every Vote Counts] campaign was really useful at raising awareness amongst the population as a whole. It made people understand that people with learning disabilities are equal citizens, with equal rights to take part in the democratic process.”
United Response's director of policy and communications, Diane Lightfoot, said: “We are delighted to have increased voter turn-out amongst people with learning disabilities, but participation doesn’t stop there. We believe that people with learning disabilities have the right to express their views about the political decisions that affect their lives, not only at election time but also throughout each parliamentary term.
“Politics affects all of us and we will continue to campaign to ensure that people with learning disabilities are kept informed and are truly represented within the democratic system and across wider society.”
Final election report
In addition, David Allkins, who, as part of the Every Vote Counts campaign and in his role as the charity’s political correspondent, travelled up and down the country during the general election campaign, meeting and interviewing politicians and creating video reports, has released his final report for the campaign.
For this, Allkins, who has Asperger’s syndrome and communication difficulties, has interviewed politicians including: Labour’s Kate Green; Justin Tomlinson, Minster for Disabled People; his newly elected, local MP for St Austell and Newquay, Steve Double, and Dr Tania Mathias, MP for Twickenham. His report can be viewed on his dedicated video channel: https://youtu.be/Vj2QXPrX-lA