Raising Awareness on the Right to Vote
- Mi Voto Cuenta
- Plena Inclusion Spain
- Country of Implementation
- Western Europe
- Start Year
- First published
“With Mi Voto Cuenta we have managed to change the law in Spain to ensure that all people with disabilities can vote.” Cristina Paredero, member, Plena Inclusión España Board of Directors, and a person with an intellectual disability
Plena Inclusión España is the Spanish national NGO, which supports people with intellectual or developmental disabilities. It established Mi Voto Cuenta (“My Vote Counts”), a campaign that focuses on raising awareness about the right to vote and to have access to electoral proceedings. Mi Voto Cuenta aims to bring the demands of people with intellectual or developmental disabilities to the attention of all political parties and Spain’s central election committee. As of 2018, more than 1,000 people with disabilities have participated in election campaigns through information sessions and discussions with political parties.
According to the central election committee, there are around 100,000 people in Spain who were deprived of their right to vote during the last general election in 2016.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
Mi Voto Cuenta was developed for the first time as a campaign in the 2011 Spanish general election. Plena Inclusión España wanted to sensitize society and empower people with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families about the right to participate in political and public life, and specifically the right to vote and stand for election. The Mi Voto Cuenta campaign raises awareness by informing people with disabilities about electoral processes and about how to regain their right to vote. The campaign also reaches out to political parties and the legal system to arrange meetings with political groups in all communities of Spain. Further, it conveys the requirements of people with disabilities so as to participate in electoral processes, such as providing easy language political statements, accessible information on how the electoral process works, etc. In addition, Mi Voto Cuenta is lobbying to reveal and publicize cases where the rights of people with disabilities are being violated.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
Since Mi Voto Cuenta started campaigning during the 2014 European Parliament election, the practice is being applied in all electoral processes in Spain, both at the regional and national level. In addition, the Congress of Deputies, the lower house of Spain’s legislature, successfully supported reform of the existing election law to ensure the vote for people with disabilities. The campaign mechanism is being used in other European countries as is the adaptation of electoral programmes of various parties into easy language. Finally, Plena Inclusion and other Spanish NGOs lobbied successfully for reform of the national Electoral Law so that some 100,000 people with disabilities can vote in the next European, regional and local elections, in 2019.