People with intellectual disabilities deserve to have a say in the decisions made by city administration as they have a direct effect on their daily lives. Therefore, they need to become better involved in the municipal elections process. Unapei (National Union of Associations of parents of persons with intellectual disabilities and their friends), with its partner associations, is challenging candidates to consider this new target group and allow them the opportunity to fully participate in campaigns and elections.
Calls for Action
People with intellectual disabilities should be consulted and their opinions taken into account so that a truly accessible society can be achieved. To this aim candidates should commit to enabling all persons to become active members of their community by creating dedicated bodies to take into account the needs of those with disabilities and educating all citizens about mental disabilities. Accessibility for everyone should be present in all sectors: city services, healthcare, transportation, housing, employment, culture, childcare facilities etc.
A New Electorate to Convince
For the first time since the 2007 legal protection reform, all persons with mental disabilities have the right to vote in municipal elections (unless a judge has ruled in a particular case that a person under guardianship should be exempt). However, we find that the electoral process remains inaccessible to many. Unapei asks candidates to ensure that ‘easy to understand’ information is disseminated as part of their campaigns. Furthermore, accessible polling stations must be made available with staff that is able to assist anyone requiring help to vote.
Established in 1960, the National Union of Associations of parents of persons with intellectual disabilities and their friends (UNAPEI) is a French association working for the representation and advocacy of people with intellectual disabilities and is a member of EASPD.