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Polling Station Access.

Polling Station Access.

22 August 2016

As Seen in the MediaCommunity StoryDisability

Polling Station Access.

Rosemary Frazer is an impassioned and accomplished writer, having had her articles published in The Independent, The Guardian and Huffington Post as well as being the Campaigns Manager at the disability charity Scope. Being a wheelchair user herself, she knows first hand the difficulties and discrimination people with disabilities experience on a daily basis.

However one place you would think would cater for all sections of society is the government and its local councils, however this is not always the case. It was when she went to cast her vote in the 2001 general election that she discovered how difficult it could be for people to vote. In her blog for Scope she discusses her experience.

“I got to the polling station and found that I couldn’t get into the building because it wasn’t accessible!”

“I couldn’t believe that they hadn’t sorted out proper access. It really did throw me! I was reminded of the time as a child I heard about the Suffragette Movement and thought ‘Why on earth would women not be allowed to vote?’ My thoughts were exactly the same about access at polling stations. ‘Why on earth would you not provide proper facilities for disabled people to vote?’”

The staff at the polling station eventually moved the ballet box outside for her, making her have to vote in the car park. This was understandably an embarrassing experience, something that no one should go through.

During times of economic hardships, minorities are often the first to experience the effect of cuts, therefore the right for these minorities to have their voice heard should be a priority when comes to election vote casting.

Nearly a decade later she discovered Scope’s ‘Polls apart campaign’.

“I had heard about Scope’s Polls Apart campaign to improve access to voting for disabled people and ended up getting involved with others in improving access, awareness and support in my constituency.”

“Access to voting hasn’t improved anything like as much as it should have done since my dreadful experience in 2001. At the 2010 General Election, Scope campaigners reported on 400 Parliamentary Constituencies and found that two-thirds (67%) of polling stations had at least one significant access barrier.”

Rosemary is constantly campaigning on a number of issues concerning people with disabilities.

You can read her blog in full at

https://blog.scope.org.uk/2015/05/01/it-never-occurred-to-me-that-i-might-not-be-able-to-vote/

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