Views wanted on polling station access

IN the run-up to the General Election the Scope shops in Letchworth GC and Hitchin is asking people to have their say and share why voting matters to them. It is part of a campaign called Polls Apart - run by disability charity Scope - to raise awareness

IN the run-up to the General Election the Scope shops in Letchworth GC and Hitchin is asking people to have their say and share why voting matters to them.

It is part of a campaign called Polls Apart - run by disability charity Scope - to raise awareness about the barriers disabled people face when it comes to voting.

Local residents will be asked to share their views when they visit the shop. Their comments will be displayed in the shop window until Monday, April 12. Actor and comedian Eddie Izzard is one of several celebrities supporting Scope's campaign. He said: "Voting matters to me because it's important for my individual expression."

Scope says many disabled people are denied the chance to vote because of inaccessible polling stations. Problems include buildings without ramps, inaccessible buildings, a lack of voting information in alternative formats such as Braille or unhelpful attitudes from polling station staff who don't understand the needs of disabled voters.


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Research carried out by Scope at the last General Election showed that 68 per cent of all polling stations had one or more serious access barriers that could prevent a disabled person from voting independently and in private.

Letchworth GC shop manager Denise Thompson said: "Celebrities like Eddie Izzard have let us know why they think voting is important. We hope lots of people in the local community will join in and have their say in our eye-catching window display! I'm sure people will come up with all sorts of interesting reasons.

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"Voting is really important to disabled people but unfortunately many are still being denied the opportunity to exercise their democratic right because of access barriers at local polling stations. Disabled people should have the same right to cast their vote in person like everyone else.

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