General ElectionIf you are a British citizen over the age of 18 you’re probably going to have the right to vote; however not everybody uses their democratic right. 

Why doesn't everyone use their vote?

Reasons for this include not understanding the intentions of each political party, not being registered to vote, or in the case of some people with learning disabilities, not being aware of the voting rights. 

How many people don't vote?

It is estimated that 1.5 million people in the UK have learning disabilities , and statistics show that in 2010 less than 1 in 3 of these people voted. If this figure improved, it would greatly influence the outcome of general elections, and with such a close struggle for power between the parties, every vote counts.

Key topics that continue to be debated are health and social care which makes a general election even more important to be a part of as they have great influence on the lives of people who have learning disabilities.

Why is it important for people with learning disabilities to vote?

Every constituent needs to consider what party best represents them and their needs. People who have learning disabilities should be considering statistics affecting them which Mencap highlighted in their Campaigning together for the General Election 2015 guide:

• 1,200 people with a learning disability died earlier than they should have when they were being looked after by the NHS 
• 9 out of 10 people with a learning disability have been a victim of hate crime
• 1 in 4 people with a learning disability spend less than an hour outside their home each day because of cuts to local services.

How to register

Registering to vote is easy to do online, and campaigns can be followed on the news and on social media to help identify the values and policies that you think are of most importance. Prompting discussion and debate with family, friends and carers can be a fantastic way to explore the pros and cons of each party, so empower yourself with knowledge and take time out of your day to find out about the five biggest political parties:
 
The Conservative Party
The Green Party
The Labour Party
The Liberal Democrats
The UK Independence Party 

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