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European disability movement demands the right to vote in 2019

The European Disability Forum, of which Autism-Europe is founding member, has recently launched the “European elections for all” petition, calling on the governments and electoral commissions of the EU Member States to ensure that 80 million Europeans are able to have their private vote.

Millions of Europeans with disabilities are deprived of their right to vote and participate in elections. We want them to have it by May 2019.

Stairs in polling stations. Long, complicated instructions. Unreadable voting ballots. Blind and severely visually impaired persons being obliged, when casting their vote, to be assisted by persons not of their choice (e.g. members of the polling station team). Deprivation of the legal right to vote for persons with intellectual disabilities. These common issues still prevent persons with disabilities from voting in 2019.

On the occasion of the European Days of Persons with Disabilities 2018, held on December 3, EDF Executive Committee member Rodolfo Cattani stated: 2019 is a crucial year for the EU. We are calling on all our members, allies and all citizens who believe in democracy to sign our #DisabilityVote petition on European Parliament elections for ALL.

Over 80 million persons with disabilities routinely face easy-to-solve problems in voting. In a time where abstention, skepticism and political apathy are higher than ever, providing accessible elections is essential. It will show that European governments still care about their citizens.

The “European elections for all” petition aims at telling leaders that we want a Europe of equals. It tells leaders that they need to make Europe more democratic. It tells leaders that over 80 million European voices matter.

Yannis Vardakastanis, President of the European Disability Forum, highlighted: “Voting, and standing for elections, are two of the most important rights we have. This ongoing discrimination has to end.”

Sign the #DisabilityVote petition

Guidelines for accessible election campaigns

EDF manifesto on the European elections 2019

The Delegates to the 4th European Parliament of Persons with Disabilities, representing the European disability movement meeting in Brussels on 6 December 2017, adopted the following Manifesto drafted by EDF in view of the campaign for the European Elections 2019. This Manifesto calls for:

  • Fully accessible and inclusive European Elections;
  • A comprehensive European Disability Strategy 2020-2030;
  • EU funding to secure equal opportunities and non-discrimination;
  • An EU Pillar of Social Rights which improves the living conditions of persons with disabilities and their families;
  • An accessible Europe
  • A Europe of Human Rights

Read the manifesto in full