NCF: care home residents ‘barred from the voting booth’
Care home residents are being “effectively barred” from voting in person in next month’s local elections due to government guidance on Covid self-isolation, according to the National Care Forum (NCF).
Under the guidance, residents face 14 days of self-isolation upon their return following a visit out of a care home.
The NCF said it is a “national scandal” that resident access to the voting in person on 6 May will effectively be restricted.
“It could be argued that care home residents can register to vote by post, or to have a proxy to vote for them,” it said.
“However, that is, and should be, a choice. It should not be because other opportunities to exercise their democratic right has been removed by the government.”
NCF chief executive Vic Rayner (pictured) added: “As soon as it became apparent that everyone would not be able to share full access to the voting options, then the elections should have been paused, or we should have found a way where the opportunities for all to vote were equalised.
“This could have been achieved by introducing postal voting for all, or if that was not possible, then having a concerted targeted deliberate campaign that ensured that each and every individual effectively barred from voting in person on the day, was made fully aware of the options available to them for post and proxy and enabled to exercise their choices in a meaningful way.”
Rayner called on the restrictions on care home residents to be changed.
“It cannot and should not be acceptable for the rest of the population to be out when those of all ages who live in care homes cannot even travel five minutes down the road to the local polling station without then spending the next 14 days isolating in their room,” she added.
“This is not a situation that any of the candidates for election should stand quietly by and accept. May 6 needs to become a turning point not just for the electoral chances for thousands of candidates across Britain, but a turning point for each and every care home resident where we enable them all to once again become fully functioning citizens of our society.”