AuthorEuropean Economic and Social Committee
Ensuring voting rights for persons
with disabilities
All adult Europeans, including those with disabilities, have the right to vote
in national and European Parliament elections. This right is based upon many
binding legal documents, including the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the
Charter of Fundamental Rights of the European Union.
Unfortunately, across the EU, many persons with disabilities cannot exercise
their full voting rights. A report by European Economic and Social Committee
(EESC) rapporteur Krzysztof Pater estimates that around 800 000 EU citizens
in 16 EU countries are legally deprived by national rules of their right to
vote in elections to the European Parliament because of their disabilities
or mental health problems.
These and millions of other citizens are not able to vote for a number of
reasons. For example, many persons with disabilities are assigned a polling
station based on their place of residence that cannot accommodate their
needs. Given the option, many would change their polling station. However,
in 12 EU countries, national legislation does not allow voters to change their
polling station without changing their place of residence.
Breaking down the barriers 3

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