How to make your political campaign accessible

Over 80 million persons with disabilities live in the European Union. However, most election campaigns do not take into account the accessibility needs of persons with physical, sensory, intellectual or psychosocial disabilities.

Persons with disabilities are deprived from their right to cast an informed ballot due to many accessibility hurdles: hard to understand information; lack of subtitles; Voting instructions that are not accessible (small font, not in braille, etc.)

This page is intended to provide the staff of elections campaigns all across Europe with easy to implement tips to assure that their political message will reach every European with disabilities.

You can jump to the desired section through the links below or keep reading for the entire manual.

Websites and Mobile Apps | Social Media | Audio (Podcasts, radio) | Video | Offline Materials (leaflets, etc) | Events | Political manifestos | International Events | Useful contacts 

Woman holding a scarf where its written right to vote for all


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Accessibility of Websites and Mobile Apps

Different levels of intervention for developers and editors:

  • Coherent and simple structure (developers – how they code web or the app)
  • Explain schemas and flowcharts (editors)
  • Use sans serif font (developers and editors)
  • Avoid interferences such as automatic videos, music, etc. (developers)
  • Include alt text (alternative text)  on images that contain information and subtitles and sign language interpretation on videos(editors)
  • Provide information in easy to read format. Mark it clearly both for the user and search engine.
  • Test tools exist for web accessibility, but do not check all issues.  


Accessibility of Social Media

Essential to add alternative text on pictures:

Use Camel Case (capitalize first letter of every word) for hashtags. For example, #AccessibilityIsGood, and not #accessibilityisgood)


Accessibility of Audio 

  • Provide a transcripts of radio programs and podcasts whenever possible


Accessibility of Video

  • Add subtitles and sign language interpretation to all your videos
  • It’s better if the subtitles are closed captions (not incrusted in the video): they are easy to make on YouTube ; they are auto-generated and just need revision and correction where inacurate.Youtube subtitles editor
    • Provide a transcript for the videos – a copy of the subtitles with clear marking of who is speaking and relevant background sounds.
    • If the video is presented during an event, provide printed text description.
    • If the video contains visual actions which are self-explanatory, you need to add audio description: Example of audio description
    • All non-decorative visual information needs to be read out loud  by the voice off in the video or by the audio description.
    • Printed text describing the video in large print should be provided whenever the video is shown during an event.
    • Use easy to understand language in both the spoken information of the video and its subtitles.
    • Ideally, provide a transcript of the video in easy-to-read format. 


Accessibility of offline materials

  • When outsourcing the production of a leaflet, promotional material or other, make sure to specify accessibility requirements in the contract and to check for those upon delivery. Examples: Sans-serif font, contrast, size, large print, braille etc.
  • Always provide an accessible digital version of the material.
  • Provide material in easy to read: evidence shows that Easy-to-read materials also draw attention for more complex materials.
  • Braille documents: Provide some copies of your materials in Braille during events and, ideally, upon request on your website.
  • Large Print: provide some copies of your materials in Large Print (> 14 points) during events and, ideally, upon request on your website.


Accessibility of Events

Real time captioning team works during EDF conference. In background screens showing the captions

  • Clearly state that the event will have accessibility measures.
  • Ensure the invitation is accessible and easy to understand.
  • Ensure step-free access to the venue (ramps, lifts, etc).
  • Ensure that there are spaces with no chairs and wide room of maneuver for wheelchair users, blind, deafblind and partially sighted persons – close to the exits is preferable.
  • Ensure that a hearing loop is installed and working in the venue
  • Ensure that reserved seats are provided in the front for deaf, hard of hearing and deafblind participants. 
  • Provide real time captioning (subtitles done in real time): this is essential for many deaf and hard of hearing people who don’t use sign language
  • It is also very useful for other people in the audience  and reports after events.
  • Provide interpretation in the national sign language. International sign language interpretation must be provided when there are participants who are deaf and come from different countries. 
  • Assure that you follow guidelines on positioning of sign language interpreters
  • Ensure that graphics and important visuals are read aloud.Ensure the proceedings are clear and easy to follow.


Accessibility of political manifestos

Easy to read european logo

  • Provide your manifesto and political programmes in national sign language(s) on your website.
  • Provide your manifesto and political programmes in easy-to-read format. They are are not only more downloaded, but also boost download rate of the accompanying document: Example of easy-to-read manifestoContact a provider in your country


Accessibility of international events

  • If there are participants using different national sign languages, International Sign interpretation should be preferred. List of International Sign interpreters
  • If the event lasts longer than one hour, at least two interpreters must be provided. Long conferences and workshops (full day or more) require at least three interpreters.
  • Interpreters must be given appropriate break times, as they are co-working at all times, supporting their colleague. Therefore, if the participants require interpretation during breaks (e.g. for networking), additional interpreters must be provided.


Useful contacts


How to spread your accessible documents