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Participation of people with intellectual disabilities in European elections. Katrina Ward, Inclusion Europe.

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Presentation on theme: "Participation of people with intellectual disabilities in European elections. Katrina Ward, Inclusion Europe."— Presentation transcript:

1 Participation of people with intellectual disabilities in European elections. Katrina Ward, Inclusion Europe.

2 Inclusion Europe Inclusion Europe is a non-profit organisation. We campaign for the rights and interests of people with intellectual disabilities and their families throughout Europe. We have 66 member organisations in 33 European countries.

3 UNCRPD. Article 29 of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities guarantees the full participation of people with disabilities in elections and their right to vote. It ensures that voting procedures, facilities and materials are appropriate, accessible and easy to understand and use It also ensures the right to assistance when voting.

4 Introduction In this presentation I will speak about: 1.Our project on elections. 2.Some difficulties which people with intellectual disabilities can have when voting 3.Examples of good practices in Europe, that make it easier for people with intellectual disabilities to vote. 4.Some recommendations about how to make elections more accessible for people with intellectual disabilities.

5 The ADAP project Aim: To improve the accessibility of elections for people with intellectual disabilities. Partners: Inclusion Europe is working with three self-advocates and their support persons from: Nous Aussi, France ENABLE Scotland SPMP, Czech Republic. Funding: The project is funded by the European Commission Project length: December 2009 – May 2011

6 Project outputs 1.Best practices brochure. 2.Recommendations to politicians and electoral commissions or government departments who organise the elections in the different countries of the European Union. 3.Meetings between self-advocates and politicians on accessibility. 4.Guide for national associations about how to organise a campaign for accessible elections in easy-to-read language. 5.Final Conference in Brussels May

7 Barriers to voting We asked our member organisations: What is the most important barrier which stops people with intellectual disabilities from voting in your country?

8 THE INACCESSIBILITY of the election campaign and polling booths (Pentru Voi, Romania) Barriers to voting

9 Most political parties dont even try to communicate with people with intellectual disabilities (Senada Halilčević, self-advocate and member of the Association for Self-advocacy, Croatia) Barriers to voting

10 Prejudice that they are not capable of making decisions (Pancyprian Parents Association for People with Mental Handicap, Cyprus) Barriers to voting

11 The three important barriers which stop people with intellectual disabilities from participating in elections in Greece are that the most of them: -are under guardianship -are living in institutions -have no facilities to information and the electoral process (Posgamea, Greece) Barriers to voting

12 The ballot forms are not accessible in easy-to-read formats and the presence of a personal assistant is not available. The polling station officials are not trained to communicate with people with intellectual disabilities. (ÉFOÉSZ, Hungary) Barriers to voting

13 The lack of information in an appropriate form that would allow them to make an informed decision about who to vote for. (Mencap, UK) Barriers to voting

14 Figures on participation Figures showing the participation of people with intellectual disabilities in elections were available in only 2 out of 25 countries

15 Figures on participation UK: In the 2010 May general election, only 31% of people with intellectual disabilities voted, compared to 65.1% of the general population. Source: Mencap poll of over people with intellectual disabilities

16 Figures on participation Sweden: In 1998, 20% of people with intellectual disabilities voted, compared to 81.4% of the general population. In 1994, 31% of people with intellectual disabilities voted in the national election, compared with 86% of the general population. Source: Anette Kjellberg, Participation, Ideology and Everyday Life. How to understand the experiences of persons with learning disabilities. 2002, University of Linköping, Sweden

17 Some examples of good practices in Europe

18 1. Information We found that in 15 out of 25 European countries, there is information in easy-to-read about voting and the elections.

19 1. Information Examples: Easy-to-read voting guides European election guide Inclusion Europe wrote a guide an easy-to-read guide for the 2009 European elections. This was translated into 13 European languages. National election guides Easy-to-read voting guides exist in Germany, Scotland, England, Ireland, Finland, Sweden and Belgium. They explain for example:the importance of voting, different types of elections, how to vote, how to find out the election results.

20 1. Information Example: Political party manifestos in easy-to-read In the UK, for the general election in May 2010, the three main political parties did their manifestos in easy-to-read.

21 1. Information Example: Accessible websites about voting In the UK, a group of self-advocates made a website about voting in easy-to-understand language. It explains in easy-to-read language and short videos the different aspects of voting.

22 2. Training We found that there was training for self-advocates about how to vote in 8 out of 25 European countries.

23 2. Training Example: Peer training manual on voting Several Scottish disability organisations developed together a peer training manual so that people with intellectual disabilities can teach other people with intellectual disabilities about voting. It was made with the support of the Scottish electoral commission.

24 2. Training Example: Voting workshops and debates Ireland: Voting workshops for self-advocates are organised by Inclusion Ireland. Finland: Voting debates are organised by our Finnish member FDUV

25 3. Campaigns and lobbying We found that campaigns and lobbying activities for more accessible elections are taking place in several European countries.

26 3. Campaigns and lobbying Example: UK – Get my vote! campaign Organised by Mencap UK before the general election in May Called for the main parties to produce their information in easy-to-read. Called for more accessible election materials for people with intellectual disabilities.

27 3. Campaigns and lobbying Example: Romania - Lobbying for assisted voting Help the Life Association was part of a working group that worked for 6 months to change the electoral code before the 2009 national election and made important changes. One of these changes was the introduction of assisted voting for people with disabilities.

28 4. Accessibility guides In France and Scotland there are guides for politicians about how to make their events and campaigns more accessible for people with intellectual and physical disabilities. They highlight what language they should use and how to make their campaign materials and meeting venues accessible.

29 Some recommendations Information and training: 1.Provision of information in easy to understand language about all aspects of the electoral process at national and local level. 2.Effective distribution of these materials. 3.Training for people with intellectual disabilities on how to vote. 4.Training for poll workers on how to assist people with intellectual disabilities. 5.Regular consultation with NGOs and people with intellectual disabilities on the provision of accessible information and training. 6.Greater awareness-raising about the rights of people with intellectual disabilities to vote.

30 Some recommendations Legislation: 1.Revise laws on legal capacity and the right to vote in accordance with Article 12 of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. 2.Ensure the provision of accessible information in accordance with Article 21 of the UN Convention on the rights of persons with disabilities. 3.Ensure that people with intellectual disabilities can be assisted by a person they trust when voting. 4.Consult regularly with NGOs regarding changes to laws on legal capacity or accessibility measures.

31 Thank you! For more information about the project, please visit the project website: For more information about the ADAP project and the final conference, please contact: Katrina Ward,project officer:


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