Michelle, a campaigner for Mencap who has a learning disability, talks about her experience of voting and top tips for getting involved in democracy as the Electoral Commission and Mencap launch an easy read guide to the 2018 local elections.
I have a learning disability and like many people I can get very angry with politicians and some of the decisions they make! But I don’t agree with people who think they can’t change this. People with learning disability have the same right to vote as everyone else so you can make change happen!
Even though politicians make decisions on lots of important things like how much money is given out in benefits, what housing there is for disabled people and how much is spent on the NHS, we are their boss and they are meant to speak for us!
By voting in local elections you can have your say in which politicians make these important decisions! You can help keep someone who you think is doing a good job or vote to change them. You don’t need to be an expert to vote and take part in our democracy!
To get you started here are my top tips to get into voting;
- Talk to your parents, friends and teachers about voting.
- Research your local candidates, look at their website and Social Media.
- Can visit Parliament (it’s free!) and watch politicians on TV.
- Read Mencap and the Electoral Commission’s Easy Read Guide to Voting and the easy read party Manifestos during elections (a book which says what political parties would do if they are elected).
- Get an appointment with your MP or local councillors at their surgery and go talk to them.
- Go to hustings events at elections to learn about the people who want you to vote for them.
Voting gave me more than a say in who runs the country or my local council, it also gave me confidence. I feel more confident in how I deal with everyday tasks and have even got my MP to do more work with local charities!
I would encourage everyone to get involved with voting. There is no right or wrong answer but it can make a big difference to your life and everyone else’s.
Go and give it a go!