Thomas tells us why we should use our vote – and how

Voting….what is it?

Voting is making a choice between a number of people or a choice on a certain issue – and showing support for it.

This often involves a choice between several different people standing for election.

The person voting decides who they think will be the best person for their local area.

Later it is up to that candidate to win the most votes to be declared the winner. This is called a majority which is needed to win.

People voting has therefore  helped this person win the election.

Voting doesn’t always involve voting for people. The UK Government could call a ‘referendum’ – which is simply asking  the people voting – a question on one particular issue and the voters can only vote for a ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’ .

Sometimes your favourite football club can even ask fans to become voters.

This is what Everton Football Club did – asking fans to simply vote ‘yes’ or ‘no’ on whether to leave their current stadium.

So who can vote?

There are many rules on this but the most basic and briefest explanation is

–          You must be 18 or over to actually

–          You must not be in prison

–          You must be judged capable of making a choice or a decision for yourself. This for example could include some people with mental or learning disabilities although they are in principle entitled to vote – see www.mencap.org.uk/all-about-learning-disability/laws-and-rights/voting . This is because of something called the ‘Mental Capacity Act’ (for more information visit www.direct.gov.uk/en/governmentcitizensandrights/mentalcapacityandthelaw/makingdecisionsforsomeoneelse/dg_186479).

People with a learning disability can be supported to vote – they can have somebody go and actually vote for a candidate on their behalf. This is called ‘Voting By Proxy’.

So how do you vote?

Firstly, you have to be registered. In Liverpool, this can be done by:

After this the person needs to know where and how they can actually place their vote.

Postal Vote –  you can post your vote to Electoral Services in your area. Registering for postal voting can be done online at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk/register_to_vote/postal_vote_application/postal_vote_application.aspx .

You can also choose to vote in person. This is done by finding your nearest polling station – you can do this by visiting the following website www.liverpool.gov.uk/council/voting-and-elections/find-polling-station/

A person goes into the polling station, ticks a box for a candidate on the voting card and places it in the box where the votes are counted from.

It is important for individuals with a learning disability to vote  in local elections as the candidates can affect how good or bad their lives, and the services they use, are.

Many people with learning disabilities rely on bus travel or social care.

Choosing a candidate who is going to cut or stop these services may not be therefore a good vote!

So a lot of issues discussed in an election are relevant to those with a learning disability. This is one of the reasons why people with a learning disability should vote.

Voting displays good citizenship.Voting is about people and issues that you think can improve your own and other peoples lives and areas.

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