Accommodating Diversity for Active Participation in European elections

PRESS RELEASE: Brussels, 16 November 2010

In December 2009, Inclusion Europe launched the ADAP project, which aims to improve the accessibility of European elections for people with disabilities, as well as several other vulnerable groups.

Inclusion Europe is leading the 18-month project, together with one self-advocate from three of its member organizations in France, the Czech Republic and Scotland.

As part of the ADAP project, early in 2010, Inclusion Europe undertook research on the current accessibility of elections for people with disabilities in Europe through questionnaires sent to its member organizations and to the electoral commissions or government department responsible for organising elections in the different EU Member States. We have thus far received 25 replies from our member organizations and 18 replies from electoral commissions or government departments responsible for organizing elections .

Our research has given us a valuable insight into the situation in Europe. Our membership reported that restrictions on legal capacity, lack of access to information and polling stations and a general lack of awareness were among the main barriers to participation in elections by people with disabilities. In Sweden and the UK we found documented evidence of a significantly lower participation in elections by people with intellectual disabilities.

We found that there was:

  • Information in easy-to-read about voting and the elections in over half of countries surveyed (including easy-to-read voting guides, political party manifestos, accessible websites about voting).
  • Training for self-advocates about how to vote in 8 European countries (including peer training manuals about how to vote, voting workshops and debates for self-advocates).
  • Campaigns and lobbying activities in several European countries, and accessibility guides for politicians on how to make their elections materials and meeting venues accessible.

Inclusion Europe is currently developing Policy Recommendations on the issue, together with a Best Practices brochure and a Guide for associations on campaigning for more accessible elections. The project results will be launched at the Final Conference of the project from 30-31 May 2011 in Brussels, which will be attended by representatives from the different electoral commissions across the EU and from the EU institutions, as well as disability activists and other relevant stakeholders.

We would be delighted to welcome representatives from the CAHPAH-PPL to attend this important event and to discuss its work.


Inclusion Europe (IE) is the European voice and representation of over 60 member organizations of people with intellectual disabilities and their families. Founded in 1988, Inclusion Europe has an almost 20-year track record of successful operation and defending the rights of its constituency.

For more information, please contact:
Magdi Birtha
Project Officer

Inclusion Europe
T. +32-2-502 28 15 F. +32-2-502 80 10
A. Galeries de la Toison d’Or, 29 Chaussée d’Ixelles B-1050 Brussels, Belgium