MP pledges action for disabled voters left out in the cold
18 Jul 2001

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Sir George talks to John Quinn, SCOPE's Campaigns Networker at the Meeting held in the House of Commons

Sir George then pledged to support Scope's campaign to improve access to voting for disabled people, after hundreds of disabled voters had to overcome major access problems at polling stations to vote in the General Election.
Only one third of polling stations surveyed on June 7 were fully accessible according to Polls Apart 3, a new report based on a nationwide survey of 1,965 polling stations by the disability organisation Scope - and supported by the Disability Rights Commission (DRC).
The report reveals that only 26% of disabled survey participants felt access had improved since 1997. Common problems were steps, dangerous ramps and slippery floors. Some had to vote in the street or have their ballot paper marked by someone else.
But the findings also revealed that overall access to polling stations had improved since the 1997 election, where Scope found 94% of polling stations had one or more access problems.
Citing the findings of the survey Sir George confirmed he would be working with Test Valley and Basingstaoke and Deane Councils to make it easier for disabled constituents to cast their votes in the future.
"I'm glad to see that access has improved but there is still a long way to go. Being able to vote in person is a powerful symbol of citizenship and a fundamental civil right. Scope's report positively reflects that even the simplest of changes can make a big difference."
"I am committed to equal rights and opportunities for disabled people and shall be working closely with the two Councils to ensure that the average 13,000 disabled voters in each constituency are able to use their right to vote on election day."
 
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