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Capability Scotland

Capability Scotland
Disability

Capability Scotland

'Giving disabled people a voice'

According to leading disability organisation Capability Scotland, 40 per cent of disabled voters in Scotland experienced major access problems in casting their votes at the 2001 general election. Physically inaccessible buildings, a lack of information and poorly trained staff were the chief culprits. Many voters were also unaware of their rights and how to vote.

Following extensive research, Capability Scotland launched the Vote2003 campaign to encourage and support more people to vote in the May 2003 Scottish Parliament and Local Government Elections.

‘Over half of the disabled people we spoke to said our project was the main source of information they had on the election,’ says Michelle Hegarty, director of communications. ‘There was plenty of material about elections, but very little targeted at disabled groups.’

Increased disabled voter numbers in the 2003 elections was evidence of the campaign’s success: the turnout among this group was very high with 95 per cent of disabled people saying they intended to vote. Access improvements also meant considerably greater numbers of disabled people were able to vote in person. The vast majority of respondents said they preferred this method to postal voting.

‘The campaign has also been able to influence the disability access review and made several recommendations to government on how to modernise the electoral system,’ adds Hegarty. ‘The project has had a huge impact in making everyone aware of disabled people’s rights.’

Alan Dickson
Chief Executive
22 Corstophine Road 
Edinburgh
Eh22 6HP
0131 337 9876
Reg no. SCO11330

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