Politics, Voting and the Law

Politics, voting and the law is very important because it helps ensure you get your voice heard and understand the options.  It is important you understand topics, like voting and how laws are made so that you have a voice on how the country is run and a say on who you think would better meet your needs/represent your interests.  Everyone over the age of 18, who is not in prison or under Section as part of the Mental Health Act has, for example, the right to vote when an Election is held.  The National Election is when the whole country votes for the Prime Minister and Party, normally every 4 years.  There are also Local Elections for local issues. 

You need, at Election time, to talk to anyone standing in your area about their views on topics important to you.  You can get EASY READ simpler summaries of their policies (MANIFESTOS) if you have a Learning Disability.  This may help you.  You can talk with family and friends to help you work out what issues are important to you.  When you vote, for example, you have to put a cross in the box for the person/Party you are voting for.  If you put anything else, your vote will not count.

It is also important you understand the law, so you do not break it and you uphold the law, helping society run well and fairly for all.  The Law is a set of rules we must all follow in society.  It is important you understand your rights, so you are treated fairly and have opportunities. 

In U.K. law you are considered innocent of an potential crime  until proven guilty beyond any reasonable doubt and the state (Government)must prove this guilt or a person is found innocent.

Justice means everyone is treated equally and taking into account circumstances treatment must be morally fair.

All citizens must realise they have certain duties and responsibilities such as to follow the laws and at times of war the government may recruit citizens into the armed forces. Under the Magna Carter from 1215 everyone in the U.K. has the right to not be arrested without a reason, the right to a free fair trial and the right to a jury if being taken to court for a crime.

Each area of the county has an MP who is a Member of Parliament that got the most votes from your area, they stand for the issues for your area and you can meet with them to get your voice heard.  They voice the issues of people from your area.  They work in Parliament in London, debate issues and vote on laws and examine the work of the Government. They can ask the Government questions and help bring about change.  They can help with big problems in the community/society issues, like the NHS.  You can discuss issues with them in their office. 

It is important you also know what is happening in the news, as some issues may impact on your life or people you know.  The world is always changing and it is good to develop an opinion on events and talk to others.   

These resources should help your understanding on topics, like politics, the law and the news.  There are also resources for the latest disability relevant news.  

Voting explained in videos. 

UK Parliament video on voting and elections that explains how it works  

Mencap Voting Video aimed at those with learning disabilities, tells the experience as she voted in Harrow for the first time, showing the importance of asking for help so you know what to do and expect. 


Mencap.  Harry, who has a learning disability and Autism talks of his voting experiences, how he felt and why voting was important to him.  He also makes recommendations, such as explaining reasonable adjustments voting.




Mencap.  Hear your voice and voting as everyone's vote matters.  It explains the importance of having a voice and how to do so 

Mencap Video explains pathways to voting and how to prepare and the focus is on how to support someone with a learning disability to vote and the different ways people can make their vote.

Video clips from UK Parliament on Understanding Parliament 

Video clip on Understanding how laws are made. 

Video clip on Understanding the House of Commons.

Video Clip on Equality and Diversity.

Human Rights Act explained by the British Human Rights Institute.  https://youtube/BOc-fpC1bak

Every Vote Counts.  Easy Read.  Comprehensive, about voting and politics.  https://www.everyvotecounts.org.uk

Easy Read.  British Parliament Resources.  https://www.parliament.uk/about/how/publications1/easy-read-guides



This online MP for a week game from U.K. Parliament website Builds understanding of the role of an MP. Gives lots of useful activities and teaching resources.

Discover U.K. Parliament booklethttps://assets-learning.parliament.uk/uploads/2019/12/Discover-the-UK-Parliament-Booklet.pdf

U.K. Parliament resources How it Works looking into how parliament works a post 16 resource booklet https://learning.parliament.uk/resources/how-it-works-parliament-government-democracy-and-you-16-18-booklet/This resource covers the following important topics Democracy and what this looks like in the UK

  • Electoral systems
  • The Constitution of the UK
  • The work of the UK Parliament
  • Campaigning and ways to get involved

U.K. Parliament Similar to the above resource but an essential guide to Parliament so easier reading see https://learning.parliament.uk/resources/your-uk-parliament-the-essentials-guide-14-16-booklet/ Also see the Get to Know the U.K. parliament resources https://learning.parliament.uk/resources/get-to-know-your-uk-parliament-11-14-booklet/

U.K. Parliament voting resourceshttps://learning.parliament.uk/resources/voting-primary-resource/

Mencap.  Easy Read Voting Resources for the 2019 election.  https://www.mencap.org.uk/sites/default/files/2019-11/2019.119%20Guide%20to%20voting%202019_0.pdf

United Response.  These are the Easy Read Manifestos(what they aim to do) for the 2019 December 12 General Election that detail the ideas, plans and priorities for the major parties if they win the General Election.  https://www.unitedresponse.org.uk/party-manifestos-2019

Mencap.  Easy Read Guide to Voting and Elections.  https://www.mencap.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-mencap/elections/guides-voting

Mencap have uploaded the 2019 Easy Read Manifesto detailing the plans of the major political Parties if they win the General Election on December 12.  https://www.mencap.org.uk/get-involved/campaign-mencap/elections/general-election-2019-easy-read-manifestos

Rethink information on voting and who can vote if you have a mental health condition.  https://www.rethink.org/get-involved/campaign-with-us/a-guide-to-voting-during-a-general-election/?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI2MHqw4jg5QIVGIjVCh1dXAJ1EAAYASAAEgLrcPD_BwE

Laws and stuff.  https://lawstuff.org.uk.  Easy Read laws information for young people.

An Easy Read publication on the Criminal Justice Service by ARC.  https://arcuk.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/PWLD-in-the-CJS-Guide.pdf

UK Government Easy Read resources for going to criminal Court.  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/going-to-a-criminal-court-support-for-defendants

Easy Read Guide to going to UK Court, written by Derby Council, covers key terms, giving evidence and being a witness, as well as being on trial.  https://www.derby.gov.uk/media/derbycitycouncil/contentassets/documents/neighbourhoodpartnerships/neighbourhoodboardforumpapers/Derby-City-Council-Guide-to-going-to-court.pdf

Going to a Magistrates Court.  An Easy Read Guide from Cheshire and Wirral NHS partnership.  http://www.cwp.nhs.uk/resources/easy-read-leaflets/going-to-the-magistrates-court/

Easy Read HM Courts and Tribunals Service.  This guide is if you have been charged with a crime they think you have committed and the Court is to be the Crown Court.  https://tompride.files.wordpress.com/2015/01/easy-read-guide-for-defendant-going-to-crown-court.pdf

Disability Law Service. A UK Free service helping with Disability Law issues. Since 1975, they have people with disabilities get their rights.  They help with a wide range of issues, like disability benefits, housing, care and employment issues related to disability.  https://dls.org.uk/

Campaign from Dimensions about the importance of voting and ensuring voting is accessible for all.  https://www.dimensions-uk.org/get-involved/campaigns/love-vote-making-politics-accessible

Scope, the Disability Charity have a new Scope for Change Program getting young adults with disabilities 18-25 years of age, to campaign about an issue important to them.  This involves a training course and activities getting people with disabilities getting their voice heard on issues important to them, lobbying for change (trying to cause change on an issue important to you), meeting Government Ministers, doing some public speaking and have media opportunities.  http://www.scope.org.uk/campaigns/scope-for-change 

Easy Read Human Rights related information from BILD.  http://www.bild.org.uk/resources/easy-read-information/human-rights-easy-read-links

Law Society.  How to use a Solicitor in England and Wales UK.  https://www.lawsociety.org.uk/for-the-public/documents/easy-read-guide-how-to-use-a-solicitor/

Human Rights Consortium, Scotland.  Easy Read Guide to Brexit.  https://hrcscotland.org/2018/10/15/new-easy-read-guides-to-brexit/

Understanding Law 

Understanding the Magistrates Court where most trials are heard (less serious crimes).  If serious, then they are heard in a Crown Court.  Video by University of Derby.  Magistrates are unpaid members of the community that are not legally qualified but have some training.  They do get legal advice. 

Understanding the Crown Court, the type of Court where the most serious crimes are heard in front of a jury or when someone on trial has asked for their case to be heard by a jury.  A jury is a group of people who are normal members of the public, who do not know each other, that have been called to hear the case and decide on the evidence.  This video was produced by the University of Derby.