Supporting people to vote can be really important to those that now require help from others. Ahead of the upcoming elections, this post provides information about supporting people to vote and how to make the process easier.
Gardiner’s can support our clients to vote if they wish. Many of our clients will be registered to vote by post or proxy. However, those that wish to vote at polling stations need to make sure that they bring photo ID. Anyone without accepted photo ID can still apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate.
For more information, click the link below to download and print a guide for staff and volunteers working with older people. Help with Supporting people to vote is also available from staff at the local council’s electoral services department. Click here to apply to the voting register, you will need to have your National Insurance number available.
Assisting people to get to polling booths.
Gardiner’s are very happy to assist our clients to attend the local polling station to vote. Help with supporting people to vote is also be available from the local council.
Everyone who is entitled to vote can apply to vote by post. This is particularly helpful for people who may struggle to get to a polling station. Click here to apply for a postal vote
While everyone should be free to decide which form of vote to use, during winter, the possibility of adverse weather may make opting for a postal vote a safe option.
Mental capacity and the right to vote
The Electoral Commission’s guidance states that ‘Everyone, regardless of their capacity, should be registered to vote. It is important that vulnerable people do not lose their right to vote’.
The Electoral Commission’s assisted applications guidance gives detailed advice for care staff and those holding a power of attorney, can go legally to assist people to register and exercise their right to vote.
Easy-read and accessible manifestos are usually available from the main websites of the political parties, Gardiner’s staff can support our clients to access these.
A proxy vote is where someone goes to the polling station to vote for another person who is unable to attend to vote themself. Where an individual appoints a proxy, they ask someone they trust to vote on their behalf. People can only apply for a proxy vote under certain circumstances, including being away on polling day, having a medical issue or disability or not being able to vote in person because of work or military service.
It is also possible to ask for an emergency proxy vote, for example if someone becomes unexpectedly ill or incapacitated, also reasons relating to their occupation, service or employment, mean they cannot vote in person. The applicaiton to do this must be made by 5 pm on the day of the election.
A word of warning
To avoid potential conflicts of interest, Care Workers should not be asked to act as proxies. Any wrong-doing, for example, unduly influencing or voting on behalf of a service user could be a safeguarding matter.
The Electoral Commission is the independent body which oversees elections in the UK – vist the ‘I am a voter’ section of it’s website to read about registering to vote, casting votes in the ballot. There is information on voting at GOV.UK at: information about voting.