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Voting in Local Elections 2022

Updated: Nov 11, 2022

Voting in the local elections 2022

We are all excited about this election, it falls on Leia’s 16th birthday and that means she can vote!! It made me turn my mind to the information that she would need and how we go about the process. I started looking a while ago but the information for local elections comes out later than for general elections. I did find ENABLE Scotland’s #ENABLEtheVote campaign which has been running for a few years, but the 2022 version wasn’t out yet. They released their information when we were on holiday, so it’s taken us until this week to look at it. Here is a link to their campaign. Please accept my apologies if this information is too late for you to register to vote.

The ENABLE information explains the complicated voting process in Scotland. It’s called Single Transferable Votes and it means that you rank your favourites rather than just choosing one candidate. Find out more about the process here.

As Abbie had been keen to visit a polling booth for her first experience, we wanted to offer the same for Leia, but we were unsure if she would be allowed support in the booth. Leia will require someone to scribe for her. I was pleased to phone the election office and be told “Yes that isn’t an issue at all, there is paperwork to fill in when you arrive.”. A friend gave me the following information that may also be useful. The family had been asked how the officials would know that it was her daughter’s choice rather than their own. Fortunately, they had taken symbols of the parties/candidates on an E-tran frame and demonstrated her daughter’s yes/no response. The officials watched the process and were happy that it was genuine. If you think there is a possibility that the person you are supporting may not be able to demonstrate their communication skills in this type of scenario it may be worth videoing at home and taking that to the polling station.

I used the information and symbols from ENABLE Scotland and added some further explanation. This can be seen on this PDF or video of PowerPoint. Next Leia decided if she cared either a lot, a little or not at all about the areas of council responsibility, using this form.

I tried hard to find each of the candidates manifestos and values online, to enable Leia to choose the candidates that shared similar views to her. Sadly, I couldn’t find anything. I would really like to encourage the availability of the aforementioned in easily accessible, easy read formats to become standard. It would be helpful for all voters, not just people with learning difficulties. Our next idea was to email all the candidates, but again this information wasn’t readily available, and we were unsure if the current councillors still used their email addresses during this period. We did find most of our candidates on social media, so we reached out that way. Here is a copy of the letter Leia used. Feel free to copy or write your own based on this.

I am pleased to report that Leia has had some lovely responses and she is happy that some of the answers meet with her own ideals. With just under two weeks to go we do hope we will get more responses.

As this is a new process for us, I will likely update this blog, including an update after the event! If you know of any information that you think would be good to share, please let me know!

Thanks to ENABLE Scotland for campaigning to raise the number of disabled people participating in elections.

Happy voting.

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