Disabled people shut out of politics by lack of access at polling stations

Written by Frances Ryan for The Guardian

Clamouring for the right to vote seems slightly out of sync with modern politics, like watching a suffragette discover voter apathy, or Nigel Farage. Still, things tend to feel more important if you’re stopped from doing them. It’s 2015 and disabled people in this country haven’t yet got the franchise. Well, we have in theory, but having the legal right to cast your ballot isn’t much comfort when dire access means you can’t physically do it.

Adam Lotun, who uses a wheelchair, found himself stuck outside his polling station, a community centre in Tolworth, Surrey, when he went to vote in the 2014 local and European elections. Despite access signs pointing to a ramp, there were no safety barriers and there was a drop to the floor of the building.

“Even if I’d managed that, I was then faced with narrow internal doors, which I wouldn’t have been able to get my wheelchair through,” Lotun, 53, tells me. Unable to get inside, he couldn’t vote.

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