Why is voting in England so accessibility unfriendly? There is not one way that is an accessibility friendly way to vote. Another thing that is also accessibility unfriendly is posting mail.
I can either go down in person to vote, I can do postal voting or I can get a proxy to vote for me.
The post box is far down the road, ironically, right next to where you vote. I don’t have relatives so getting someone to do it for me is hard, but the only real option I have.
I can’t go out so I can’t do either as I don’t have the accessibility to do so and the proxy voting form wants you to prove you are disabled by going out and getting the doctor to sign the form. You know, that form I can’t get signed as I am housebound. The whole reason for me wanting proxy is because I can’t go out, but you have to for that too!
The lack of accessibility posting letters also has an effect on postal voting as there is no accessibility to post letters with Royal Mail. They have no letter collection service. Only paid parcel.
Now as someone with no living relatives and I am housebound so can’t go out, I can’t go out to vote or post my vote, nor post mail at all! Lack of accessibility in this country is all over, including in the most basic of service, posting mail.
The disabled proxy voting sign up form is absolutely shocking as it wants you to prove your disability by getting people such as your doctor to sign the form and fill it in and post it back. So it is massively inaccessible as you have to go out to get it signed and to post it!!
You shouldn’t have to prove your disability! And I even could with my blue badge or PIP form but they want it to be as hard as possible to do so you can’t use those, you have to go out instead….
You can get proxy voting for so many reasons, but disability wants you to prove it by getting someone such as your doctor to fill it in and then post the 6 page form! Both of which needs you to go out, so are not accessibility friendly whatsoever! Whereas if you are not disabled and need to get proxy voting, it is just a 2 page simple form!
So I have no choices and no way to vote!!
I have no choices as they all involve going out!
In person = involves going out
Postal = involves going out
Proxy = involves going out to doctor and post box (not that the doctors will sign the form free anyway)
To the electoral commission, housebound means just that! Doesn’t mean we can go out when we feel like it. Plus why should we have to prove disability? Anyone can get proxy voting. Anyone at all.
I spoke to my MP, the electoral commission, my council and others and all I get told is to pass my feedback onto my MP. i.e pass the feedback on and nothing gets done.
Something needs to be done now, not in 20 years.
It is the same for posting I can’t post letters as I can’t go out, and Royal Mail only offer collection for parcels, not letters such as freepost letters and also voting slips. I have no way to post letters at all as there is no accessibility to do so.
I have told both the electoral commission, my MP and Royal Mail that I think housebound disabled people should either be able to vote online, or someone should pick the letters up. I suggested to the royal mail CEO that a service where the postie collects mail from housebound residents when delivering mail. It would mean housebound people could post letters! Something lots of us can’t do!
Here in the UK there is no accessibility for voting OR posting mail! And if you want to do proxy voting as a disabled person, then you have to fill out a 6 page document and get your doctor to confirm you are disabled and sign it, then you have to post it back.
Whereas if you are not disabled but want proxy voting it is a 2 page document! The ableism is unreal!
2022 and we still don’t address lack of accessibility in so many areas that should have sorted this out at least 20 years ago.
Voting. We should be able to vote online, or if that is just too hard for this government to implement, then someone to collect our vote! Or the proxy voting form shouldn’t be so ableist! I shouldn’t have to prove I am disabled!My Idea To Solve The Lack Of Accessibility Voting & Posting Mail
I thought of a cheap, easy way that Royal Mail could address the lack of accessibility easily and implement something in just a day as it is that simple. It would also work for postal voting too.
Imagine this, a housebound disabled person registers on the Royal Mail website to say they are housebound and disabled. When they have a letter to post, they could fill in another form saying they have mail to collect. When the postie delivers mail on that street next, they knock and collect the letter from the housebound resident. They put the letter in their bag, and they either take it to the depot and drop it off or just drop it in a mailbox! No extra cost for anyone. No extra time for the postie really.
We could just hand it to the postie. You know, kind of like post in the USA where you can leave outgoing mail in your mail box!
My idea would work for letters and voting and is easy to set up with no extra cost and minimal extra time. Remember I am targeting housebound people who can’t get out, not everyone else.
Something needs to be implemented now. My idea would have minimal cost and time and it would work instantly. All it needs is a sign up form and a form to say we need a collection.
It needs people in charge that actually want to help the disabled. That is what it needs, but that is the problem as too many don’t really care and don’t want to help us.
It doesn’t take much, it just takes someone actually wanting to help us!
Stop procrastinating or ignoring us. Listen and implement change!