Register to Vote
In June this year there will be a General Election the result of which could, (as well as other things), determine the future of health and social care in the UK. This will have consequences for everyone, especially disabled people so it is important that we get our voices heard. The closing date for registering to vote is fast approaching, so make sure you do it soon, as your vote is important.
If you are not already registered to vote you must do so by the 22nd May 2017 at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote.
We may think that our lone voice and vote won’t make a difference but put all those lone voices together and we can influence change. One disabled woman born in 1875 fought long and hard for women to be able to vote and did not let her disability stand in the way.
The Women’s Suffrage campaigner Rosa May Billinghurst was born in Lewisham in 1875. At five months old, she contracted an illness which left her completely paralysed. She relied on calipers and crutches to walk, and usually used a three wheeler wheelchair which was pedaled by hand.
Despite these difficulties Rosa May was a committed political campaigner and joined the militant suffragette Women’s Social and Political Union (WSPU) in 1907. She took part in the suffragette march to the Royal Albert Hall in 1908 and worked for the WSPU.
Rosa Mae was determined at all times to fight for what she believed in becoming known as“the cripple suffragette” and her disability led to increased publicity for the campaign. She didn’t end her campaigning until 1918, the year that the Qualification of Women Act was passed which gave women over 21 the right to stand for election as an MP. (It was not until 1928 that women were given the vote on equal terms as men).
We do not have the same struggle that Rosa May had to obtain the right to vote as it is given us freely when we register. All we have to do is use our vote.
Register to vote at https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote
Election Timeline 2017
Wednesday 3 May – dissolution day, which took place at one minute past midnight
Monday 22 May – deadline for registering to vote
Thursday 8 June – polling day, Polling stations are open between 7am and 10pm
Friday 9th June – General Election results announced, the new government will take office soon afterwards.
Click the link below to find out more about your local MP/Candidate for the General Election, simply enter your postcode or type in “Norfolk”.
You will able to read a brief biography and a summary of their activities to date as well as the results of the last election.
Your council will send you a poll card just before an election telling you where and when to vote. Polling stations are open from 7am to 10pm on polling day, and are usually public buildings like schools or local halls.
Is your polling station accessible to you?
If you’re disabled, your local Electoral Registration Office can tell you about:
- physical access, e.g. wheelchair ramps and disabled parking spaces
- low-level polling booths
- equipment for voters with a visual impairment
Every polling station must provide at least 1 large print display version of the ballot paper and a special device so that blind and visually impaired people can vote.
You can visit the following link to check your polling station is accessible – https://www.gov.uk/voting-in-the-uk/polling-stations.
Anyone can apply for a postal vote – you don’t need to give a reason. You can vote by post if you live in the UK or if you’re voting when abroad.
You can apply for a postal vote:
- For a single election on a specific date
- For a specific period
To apply, visit https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/apply-for-a-postal-vote.
Or, for more information about getting yourself on the electoral register, see https://www.gov.uk/get-on-electoral-register.
Other Useful Information
UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD) – http://www.un.org/disabilities/convention/conventionfull.shtml.
The British Institute of Human Rights – https://www.bihr.org.uk/.