As a charity, United Response have successfully campaigned to open up the democratic process to thousands of people with learning disabilities since 2010 and in the last general election saw 43 percent of the people they support actively using their right to vote.
With the 5 May Local and Mayoral Elections less than a month away and the EU Referendum vote taking place on 23 June, the national disability charity is once again delivering the tools to ensure that people with learning disabilities have their say, get registered and use their right to vote.
Nearly 770,000 names have been removed from the electoral register due to changes made by the 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. This will include a disproportionately large number of people with learning disabilities.
United Response are encouraging everyone to check that they are registered to vote, especially if you have moved home in the last 12 months, as you will need to re-register. The easiest way to check is to go on-line 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 –
- Deadline to register to vote at Local and Mayoral Elections is Monday 18 April.
- Deadline to register to vote for EU Referendum is Tuesday 7 June.
You will need your date of birth and your National Insurance number. If you registered for the last general election and nothing has changed in your circumstances then you are still registered to vote.
As a charity, United Response is committed to creating a society where disabled people are equal participants and have access to the same rights as everyone else. In order to achieve this aim, the charity has created various resources and tools. The ongoing campaign Every Vote Counts has been breaking down the barriers for people with learning disabilities to engage in the democratic process for the last three successive general elections. A key tool in the campaign is the dedicated website which provides un-biased, easy to understand information covering all aspects of the democratic process, including details about the forthcoming EU Referendum. To find out more please visit www.everyvotecounts.org.uk.
Making an informed decision can be difficult if you do not have access to all the information, so since 2013, United Response has been producing an award winning accessible news magazine called Easy News. Ninety three per cent of Easy News subscribers who responded to the most recent survey indicated that they feel they are taking a greater interest in politics as a results of reading the news magazine. The 20th edition of Easy News will be published this month, covering a range of national, international, political, and human interest stories translated in an easy read format by the UR Consultants, a team of paid translation experts, all of whom have a learning disabilities and/or autism.
On 23 June 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 United Kingdom’s membership to the European Union. The forth coming EU Referendum is going to be such an important event, with the official outcome of the vote affecting everyone, including people with learning disabilities that the Easy News team will be producing a special issue covering the arguments from both the ‘Stay’ and ‘Leave’ campaigns in our usual un-biased and accessible format.
The Easy News EU Referendum Special will be published on-line on Tuesday 10 May – www.unitedresponse.org.uk/org. To get your copy of the Easy News EU Referendum Special delivered directly to your email please subscribe today.
Make sure you are ready and be sure not to miss any of the key dates in the coming months, sign up to the Every Vote Counts newsletter, which will guide you to our resources and tools ahead of the key deadlines.
Lastly subscribe to United Response’s YouTube Channel so you can be the first to see video reports from United Response on the EU Referendum.