Carers have vital rolein ballot


A charity is urging Jewish people with learning disabilities to register to vote in May's general election.

The Judith Trust helps to train carers from Kisharon, Langdon and other Jewish charities which assist people with disabilities.

With six weeks until polling day, the trust is backing Mencap's Hear My Voice campaign, encouraging engagement with politics.

Jo Richler, Judith Trust policy manager, said it was important to ensure carers understood they had a vital role in helping people with disabilities to take part in the electoral process.

"We need to encourage any carer or any parent to make it an important issue," she said. "Voting enables people to have that conversation about their own future. It's all about inclusion."

The leading political parties have said their manifestos will be published in easy-to-read formats to help those with a variety of disabilities.

At the 2001 election, 17 per cent of people with a learning disability were turned away from polling stations when they went to vote. Only 31 per cent of those living with a learning disability said they had voted at that election. In 2005 and 2010, no figures were recorded.

Ms Richler said there was a particular focus on assisting young people who would be first-time voters. "We are using our social media to encourage people to register to vote. We want to make sure as many people as possible know they have to go online to register or apply for a postal vote," she said.

Ms Richler attended a meeting in Parliament last month of charities and politicians who work on disability issues.

"It was a real eye-opener," she said. "It was noted that it was up to the people with learning disabilities to go into MPs' surgeries and ask for answers. It was as though the MPs were too busy to go and talk to the groups. There's a huge amount of work to be done."

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