“Promote the Vote” – Supporting those with additional needs to have their say!

The “Promote the Vote” campaign is about ensuring all eligible voters have the information and resources they need to cast their ballots. Here are some tips and advice on how we can all empower and support those with additional needs to ensure their voice is heard.

Talking to adults with additional needs about the importance of registering and using their vote in a general election involves clear communication, empathy, and the use of accessible resources. Here are some steps to guide the conversation:

1. Understand Their Needs

  • Identify their specific needs: Whether they have cognitive, sensory, or physical disabilities, understanding their specific requirements will help tailor the conversation.
  • Use appropriate communication methods: This might include using simple language, visual aids, or assistive technologies.

2. Explain the Importance of Voting

  • Empowerment: Emphasise that voting is a way to have their voices heard and to influence decisions and policies that affect their lives.
  • Affirmation: Reinforce that their voice and opinions matter, and this is an opportunity to share their views on a national level.
  • Representation: Highlight that voting helps choose representatives who understand and advocate for their needs and interests.

3. Simplify the Process

  • Registration: Guide them through the process of registering to vote. Provide step-by-step instructions, and offer assistance if needed. Use visual aids or simplified guides if possible. 
  • Voting Methods: Explain the different ways they can vote, such as in-person, by mail, or through assisted voting services.
  • My Vote my Voice is a great resource to help you do this: Quick guide to voting – My Vote My Voice

4. Provide Practical Support

  • Use Plain Language: Break down complex political jargon into simple, everyday language.
  • Short Sentences: Keep explanations brief and to the point.
  • Visual Aids & Infographics: Use visual representations, charts or diagrams to explain any key points. 
  • Icons and Symbols: Use universally recognized symbols to represent different issues (e.g., a house for housing policies, a heart for healthcare).
  • Personalize the Information: Relate policies to everyday situations. For example, explain how a healthcare policy might affect their doctor’s visits or how an education policy could impact their local school.
  • Storytelling: Use short stories or scenarios to illustrate the impacts of different policies.
  • Videos and Animations: Create or find videos that explain manifestos in an engaging and easy-to-understand way.
  • Audio Summaries: Provide audio versions of explanations for those who prefer listening.
  • One-on-One Support: Be available to answer questions and provide one-on-one support if needed.

5. Address Concerns and Barriers

  • Accessibility Concerns: Essex County Council have created a  ‘Voter’s Passport’ to help people identify reasonable adjustments they may need at the polling station (please download from below).
  • Reassurance: Reassure them that their vote is private and secure.

6. Reminders & Follow Up

  • Reminders: Send reminders about important dates for registration and voting, along with a reminder about the requirement for voter ID. 
  • Feedback: After the election, ask for their feedback on the experience and discuss any challenges they faced to help future conversations.

By approaching the topic with sensitivity, patience, and practical support, we can all support and empower adults with additional needs to participate in the electoral process and ensure they know that their opinions count!

Staying within the rules: It is important to remember that the aims of the Promote the Vote campaign are to ensure that people know about their rights to register and to vote, and that they are appropriately supported to do so. If someone chooses not to register to vote or not to vote as a result of the campaign then that person is within their rights. This is not a failure but a recognition that many people in the UK are not interested in politics and choose not to vote. No pressure should be exerted on someone to vote when they choose not to.


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