Disability charity United Response has urged all people with learning disabilities to make sure they are registered to vote ahead of the upcoming local and mayoral elections and the EU Referendum.
United Response has campaigned to open up the democratic process to people with learning disabilities since 2010. In the last general election 43% of the people they support used their right to vote.
With the local and mayoral elections, as well as elections for the Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly taking place on Thursday, May 5 and the EU Referendum on June 23, the charity is again delivering the tools to ensure that people with learning disabilities have their say, get registered and use their right to vote.
For these elections, the charity is highlighting the importance of making sure people with learning disabilities are registered to vote, as nearly 770,000 names have been removed from the electoral register due to changes made by the UK government in how people need to register as individuals rather than households. A large proportion of the names removed from the electoral register will be people from disenfranchised groups, including a disproportionately large number of people with learning disabilities.
For instance, people who have moved home in the last 12 months will need to re-register. The easiest way to check is to go online to find your local electoral registration office, give them a ring and they will confirm if you are registered.
There are two important deadline dates for registration:
• Monday, April 18 to vote at local and mayoral elections
• Tuesday, June 7 to vote for the EU Referendum.
To register, people will need their date of birth and National Insurance number.
However, those who registered for the last general election and have had no changes in their circumstances will still be registered to vote.
For the EU Referendum, all British, Irish and Commonwealth citizens over 18 who are resident in the UK, (along with UK nationals living abroad who have been on the electoral register in the UK in the past 15 years) and are registered to vote will have the opportunity to cast a single vote over the future of the UK’s membership of the European Union.
United Response’s website, www.everyvotecounts.org.uk, which provides un-biased, easy to understand information covering all aspects of the democratic process, now includes details about the EU Referendum.
In addition, a special issue of Easy News – United Response’s newspaper aimed at people with learning disabilities – will be published online on May 10 covering the arguments from the ‘Stay’ and ‘Leave’ campaigns in an un-biased and accessible format. Go to www.unitedresponse.org.uk/easy-news for more information on Easy News.