How to make your election campaign accessible

Creating an accessible world is a shared responsibility. While it’ll take more than following a checklist to get us there, these essential considerations will ensure your campaigns are inclusive and able to reach as many people as possible.

Maria laughing with her VOCA

Follow our checklist, below, to make sure you’re considering accessibility at every level of your election campaigning.

Most importantly, if you’re uncertain about someone’s accessibility needs, just ask.

Campaigning online

Social media

  • Alt-text: Use alt-text to describe images and graphics, making them accessible to people who rely on screen-reading software.
  • Subtitles: Adding subtitles to videos makes them easier to follow for everyone, but they can be essential for viewers with hearing impairments.
  • Hashtags: Capitalising the first letter of each word in a hashtag (#LikeThis) makes it easier for screen-reading software to read the individual words.

Websites

  • Remember accessibility: Think about disabled people while designing your website. There are plenty of free online accessibility checkers out there – consider using them regularly so that everyone can use your website.

Campaign documents

  • Best practice for printed documents: Avoid small text, curly fonts and jumbled layouts, as they often can’t be read by people with visual impairments.
  • Digital copies: Webpages and Word documents are more accessible than PDFs, but make sure you use heading structures, as well as alt-text on any images.
  • Accessible formats: Ensure your manifestos and leaflets are accessible to all who are interested by making alternative formats available:
    • Easy Read: This format presents text in an accessible, easy to understand format. It is often useful for people with learning disabilities.
    • Large print.
    • Braille.

Campaign meetings and face-to-face campaigning

Running an event in the community, like a hustings or a surgery?

Here are a few things you can do to make sure everyone can take part:

Venue

  • Check that the space is wheelchair-friendly, with step-free access, a lift and disabled toilet onsite.

Greeters and guides

  • As not all attendees may be able to read your signs and posters, have someone on hand to guide people towards the appropriate room.

Communication

  • Confirm in advance if any attendees have accessibility needs that you need to meet, such as support from a British Sign Language interpreter.
  • Always look at the person you’re speaking to, rather than their carer or interpreter. Make sure your mouth is visible when you speak to support/enable lipreading.
  • For large events, ask everyone to use a mic while speaking. If you can, use a hearing loop system so people with hearing aids can listen along.

Will you be a champion for disabled people?

Ahead of the 2024 General Election, Sense’s manifesto explains what prospective new MPs can do to support their disabled constituents.