William Eichler 09 April 2019

Virtual reality used to help people with learning disabilities vote

The Northern Ireland branch of the charity Mencap is using virtual reality to support people with learning disabilities to vote in the upcoming local elections.

A survey conducted by the charity in 2014 found that 70% of people with a learning disability intended to vote in the 2015 general election. However, 60% said they found the process of registering to vote too difficult.

In order to help people with disabilities feel more comfortable about the voting process, Mencap Northern Ireland is using an interactive virtual experience replicating a polling station. This will show people what to do when they go to vote for the first time.

The virtual reality experience, which has been created with C60 Architects, will help reduce anxiety and develop confidence about what you have to do when voting.

‘Many people with a learning disability can find it difficult to engage in their community. So we are providing support for people to register and vote,’ said Margaret Kelly, director of Mencap NI.

‘A polling station can be a busy place if you are not sure what you should be doing. So on our website people can now go through the voting experience from home in advance and access a range of other information on voting and how to register to vote,’ Ms Kelly continued.

‘We want encourage people with a learning disability to register, vote and become active members in society.’

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