Political parties are being urged to produce easy-to-read manifestos in the run up to the 12 December general election to better enfranchise more than a million voters who have a learning disability.
Around 1.5 million people in the UK have a learning disability, of which approximately two-thirds are eligible to vote, according to charity Mencap.
However, the Electoral Commission estimates that one in four of them are not yet registered to vote.
People with learning disabilities have the right to vote like everyone else, as protected by Article 3 of the first protocol in the Convention of Human Rights. They often need support in order to register to vote, and to understand complex political jargon.
Ismail Kaji, Mencap’s Parliamentary Support Officer, said: “People with a learning disability have a right to vote and, with the right support, can vote just like anyone else. In the past, political parties haven’t always produced good quality easy read manifestos, or have published them very late in their campaigns.
“If we don’t have access to the same information at the same time as the general population then people with a learning disability – like myself – can be excluded.”
In 2017 general election, most parties did publish the easy-read manifesto. However, many did not do this until some time after publishing their main one.
The charity has written to all political parties calling on them to publish both manifestos at the same time.
Ahead of the 26 November deadline, Mencap and the Electoral Commission have published an easy-to-read guide to help voters register.
You can register to vote in the upcoming general election at www.gov.uk/registertovote b