Supporting people with Autism and Learning Disabilities to vote

For some, voting can be a difficult process to follow, at Bright Futures we’ve been working hard to ensure the voice of the people we support, and the wider community of people with Autism and Learning Disabilities is heard.

Supporting the My Voice My Vote campaign, we’re supporting people with Autism and Learning Disabilities to have their say in the General Election.

Following Learning Disability Week (17th – 23rd June), where the focus was all about being seen, heard and valued – we’re excited to share how here at Bright Futures, we’ve been taking the time to empower and encourage the people we support to register to vote and have their say in the upcoming General Election on 4th July.

Sticking with the theme of being heard and valued, for people with Autism, learning disabilities, and disabilities more generally – voting can often be inaccessible. Research from the learning disability charity Mencap shows that 60% of people with learning disabilities didn’t register to vote for the last election because they found it too difficult. (source: BBC)

For some, voting can be a difficult process to follow:

  • Registering to vote
  • Having the right ID
  • Attending and accessing a polling station

Here at Bright Futures, along with disability charities across the country, we’re campaigning and working hard to make sure the voice of the people we support, and the wider community of people with Autism and Learning Disabilities is heard. We know how important it is to advocate for the people we support, and support them to have their say.  

What we did:

  • Provided staff with the tools and information to get the people we support registered to vote, and how to ensure they had the right ID.
  • Started the conversation about voting, what it means, and why it matters.
  • Collated the easy-read accessible resources created by Mencap to give our colleagues and the people we support everything they needed.
  • Stayed impartial – providing information about constituencies across our local regions.
  • Advocated for the people we support to have their say, and make it more accessible.

Getting together every Friday afternoon for a whole month, we held weekly meetings and workshops with the people we support and their support staff.

Session 1: Focused on the importance of voting, how to vote, why it’s important.

Session 2: Supported them in registering to vote and completing the online process before the deadlines.

Session 3: A dedicated reading manifestos session, to provide them with enough information so that they feel confident to have their say.

Session 4: ID check and final round-up of information.

Jenna Gani Taib, our Person-Centred Planning Champion, says “It’s extremely important to us here at Bright Futures to make voting as accessible as possible, so that the adults we support can understand more about that independent choice and their right to vote. Taking the time to empower and support them to have their say is just part of our role and gives them a voice in shaping the future.”

If you’re looking for any of the resources that we used, to help make voting more accessible for the people we support, we’ve linked them below:

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