Virtual reality helps demystify voting for disabled people

Virtual reality helps demystify voting for disabled people

Going to cast your vote on polling day should be simple.

But for Dave Morton, who has a learning disability, it has always seemed an intimidating experience.

That's why he has never voted before.

But thanks to virtual reality technology, he and others have been taken through the entire process in time for next month's council elections.


The learning disability charity Mencap has been working to create a scheme to ease anxieties that disabled people might have about going to the polling station.

It walks users through everything, from explaining what canvassers are to showing them how to mark their ballot paper.

Mr Morton told BBC News NI he "never had the confidence" to go out and vote, because he found the environment too unfamiliar.

However he is determined to vote this year and said being walked through the ins and outs of a polling station had really helped him.

"Other people probably don't realise there are people with disabilities who do need help and support," he added.

The deadline to register to vote is Friday 12 April, ahead of the council elections on 2 May.

Mencap is hoping the new project will encourage more disabled people to get on the electoral roll.

'Basic rights'

Its director in Northern Ireland, Margaret Kelly, said disabled people faced "many barriers" in society that most people take for granted.

"People with learning disabilities are often excluded in so many ways," she said.

"For me, voting is one of the most basic rights in society and and one of most basic ways of being included as a citizen." Read more

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