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Accessible Voting Day

Voting and elections should be accessible to everyone who has the legal right to vote, whether they have a disability or not.

Accessible Voting Day joint letter

Barack Obama declared that “there is no such thing as a vote that does not matter”. Yet many people are still effectively excluded from exercising their vote.

There are approximately 1.5 million people with a learning disability in the UK. But, a United Response survey in 2021 found that only two thirds of people knew that people with learning disabilities have a legal right to vote.

The same year a Dimensions survey found that 80% of people felt that polling stations weren’t accessible for people with a learning disability and 61% of people reported that polling station staff did not always make legally entitled reasonable adjustments. And, RNIB have serious concerns that the Elections Bill will fail to protect blind and partially sighted people’s right to vote independently and in secret.

Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) explains how disabled people will have their political rights guaranteed so they can enjoy them on an equal basis with others. This includes ensuring that voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand, and use.

As organisations and individuals we are committed to ensuring Article 29 of the UNCRPD is upheld. To make sure disabled and autistic voters have their political rights guaranteed, and voting is an accessible process, for Accessible Voting Day on 3 March 2022 we are pledging to:

  • Be allies and champion the right to vote for all disabled and autistic people
  • Help promote the availability of manifestos and voting guides in accessible formats including easy read, braille and audio
  • Listen to disabled and autistic people about their voting accessibility concerns and take action

Signed by: Tim Cooper, CEO of United Response, Steve Scown, Chief Executive of Dimensions, Matt Stringer, CEO of RNIB, Richard Kramer, CEO of Sense and Sense International, Andy Burnham, Mayor of Greater Manchester, Alex Norris MP, Shadow Minister for Levelling Up, Housing, Communities and Local Government, Mark Lee, Chief Executive of Together Trust, Dr Rhidian Hughes, Chief Executive of VODG, Ruth Gorman, Chief Executive Officer of Imagine Act and Succeed, Karyn Kirkpatrick, CEO of KeyRing Living Support Networks, Kirsty Matthews, CEO of HFT, John Crawford, Chief Executive of Three Cs, Aisling Duffy, Chief Executive of Certitude, Adel Harris OBE, CEO of Mencap, Sarah Maguire, Chief Executive of Choice Support, Lisa Hopkins, Chief Executive of SeeAbility, Kamran Mallick, CEO of Disability Rights UK, Ruth Owen OBE, CEO of Leonard Cheshire, Scott Watkin MEB, Jordan Smith, Wendy Burt Co-Chairs of Learning Disability England (LDE) Members’ Representative Body, Carmel Miedziolka, Chief Executive Officer of Area 51 Education, Sarah Burslem, CEO of MacIntyre, Claire Hilton, Managing Director of Unity Works, Lesley Dixon, Chief Executive of PSS, David Ellis, Chief Executive of National Star, Sue Livett, Managing Director of Aldingbourne Trust, Sarah Norman, Chief Executive of Barnsley Council.

Download Easy read voting guides for people we support

United Response worked with the Electoral Commission and the Cabinet Office to produce easy read guides and practice ballot papers for each of the different elections. Please download these and share them to support voters who are autistic or have a learning disability:

Easy read guide to voting in local elections in England

2 MB | pdf


Easy read guide to voting in the combined mayoral election

2 MB | pdf


Take the pledge

Please take the campaign pledge to help make voting and elections more accessible for people with disabilities and autism.

Information and resources

You can find lots of resources and information on making voting more accessible on the United response website.