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UPDATED: Have your say in the local elections on 3 May

04 April 2018

CNWL is relaunching its campaign to encourage mental health patients and service users to register to vote and get their voice heard in the forthcoming local elections. (03 May 2018).

The last day to register to vote is on 17 April 2018.

Mental health patients, including those, detained under the Mental Health Act, have the same right to vote as the general population.

However, they remain one of the most disenfranchised groups. A lack of information and understanding knowledge of their eligibility to vote or of the registration process led to voting turnout being as low as 14% in 2010- a quarter of the turnout of the general population.

A film to increase awareness of the voting rights of mental health patients is available on the CNWL website.

The film features the viewpoints of patients and staff, highlighting the need for better advice and support about who can and cannot vote.

It is important to note that, in contrast with a General Election, citizens of EU countries other than the UK, the Republic of Ireland, Cyprus and Malta can vote in local government elections, Scottish Parliamentary elections if they are registered in Scotland, National Assembly for Wales elections if they are registered in Wales and Greater London Authority elections if they are registered in London.

Did you know?

  • The vast majority of patients in the community can vote
  • Voluntary patients in mental health hospitals can vote
  • Patients under civil sections, such as section 2 and 3 of the Mental Health Act (MHA), can vote
  • Patients on a Community Treatment Order (CTO) can vote. Patients who lack capacity can vote
  • Patients who are homeless, of no fixed abode or in B&B accommodation can vote
  • Prisoners remanded to hospital under the Mental Health Act (MHA) on Sections 35, 36 or 48 can vote.

Who cannot vote?

Patients detained after having been convicted of committing a criminal offence and been ordered to hospital by the Courts cannot vote.

How do I register to vote?

  • To vote you must be on the electoral register. You can register to vote online or by post. Visit the Government website to find out how

What should staff do?

  • Appoint a voting rights lead for each community team and ward whose role will be to promote and monitor that patients and staff are being informed of their Voting Rights and that support is being offered to those patients who want to register/cast their vote
  • Read the Trust Voting rights policy
  • Try the staff voting rights quiz
  • Watch the Voting Rights film with other staff and with patients
  • Consider holding discussion groups on voting rights with patients and staff
  • Display posters on voting rights in staff and patient areas
  • Distribute information leaflets to patients and staff
  • Offer each patient under your care, if they want, support to register and/or to cast their vote and document in notes that you have done so).

Claire Murdoch, CNWL Chief Executive, said: “This is all about civil rights for all citizens; something I’m passionate about and why this is a very important initiative.”

You can view the full film below: