Skip to main content
  • News

One month to go until we shape the future of European democracy

A woman holds the EU flag over her head in the wind. Clouds and the sky in the background.

Care and support services can play an important role in the upcoming European elections.

We are only one month away from the European elections: an important moment for European democracy. Between 6-9 June 2024, EU nationals across Europe will have the opportunity to vote in the European Parliament Elections.

Members of the European Parliament are elected for 5 years, and as directly elected legislative body they adopt European legislation, and influence the European policy agenda. The composition of the newly elected parliament will thus also have an impact on upcoming policies which impact persons with disabilities and services for persons with disabilities. You can read more about this on EASPD’s information page about the elections.

However, this is not the only reason why the elections are important for care and support services for persons with disabilities. Care and support services can also play a role in promoting accessible elections, or in supporting persons with disabilities to exercise their right to vote. For example, support services can share information about the elections in easy-to-read format with persons with intellectual disabilities who they support. In addition, they can advocate for accessible electoral practices in their communities to facilitate the participation of persons with disabilities in the elections. The European Commission has developed a Guide of good electoral practices in Member States addressing the participation of citizens with disabilities in the electoral process. This guide includes guidance to Member States on ensuring outreach to persons with disabilities, as well as implementing universal design and reasonable accommodation throughout the electoral cycle. The guide can also be used as an advocacy tool for the 2024 elections, but also for future local, national and European elections.

Some of EASPD’s members have already been working extensively on the topic of accessible elections over the past months. In Spain, Foundation ONCE and ONCE Social Group have actively advocated for and engaged in political efforts to enhance voting access for people with disabilities. They identified that the QR code system on ballot papers has the potential to further support persons with disabilities to vote more independently. This is a tool which is versatile, easy to use, popular, and affordable. You can find out more by watching this video.

Lourdes Márquez de la Calleja, Director of Alliances and International Relations at Foundation ONCE explains: “Lack of accessibility is one of the main barriers for people with disabilities to exercise their right to vote. This affects the design of ballots, secret ballot booths and any information provided to voters through non-accessible election programs, debates or party conferences. Accessible technology makes it possible to eliminate these barriers. With a simple QR code on the ballot papers that provides more information and in different formats, people with disabilities could vote in complete autonomy, privacy and equality with other citizens. This code allows to incorporate another layer of accessibility to the way of exercising the right to vote. In no case does it replace voting in Braille, it is another alternative and also allows access to voting for people with severe visual disabilities.

Only two issues need to be taken into account: the QR code must have a tactile signal (physical cue that can be felt through touch), and the content to which this code redirects must be created following accessibility criteria so that users can access it.”


EASPD’s (future) work

EASPD will make efforts to meet the new policy and decision-makers once they are installed. Our European Elections 2024 page will have the latest updates on EASPD's work.

For more information and materials regarding the accessibility of European elections, also make sure to check out the European Disability Forum's Resource Centre.