Start by making it a priority. This means that you will consciously think about accessibility in all you do. You might not get it perfect, but you’ll do a much better job than candidates who aren’t even considering it.
There is some information on making your campaign accessible in the official candidates’ guide (pages 20-21), together with links to more information. Local charity Access For All* has some great guidance on making accessible websites, printed material and videos.
If you are using social media, there may be ways to make your account more accessible for disabled voters – for example, by writing captions for pictures you post, so visually-impaired people can enjoy them too.
You might be able to find information about improving accessibility under your Account Settings or somewhere obvious, or you might have to google your social media platform + “accessibility” to find it! (The irony of making accessibility information obscure is not lost on me…)
The benefit of searching the internet for social media accessibility tips, instead of being able to find it easily on the platform itself, is that you will probably also come across information from disabled social media users* explaining what works well for them. Read this and learn from it, as much as you can.
What I did on my manifesto and my website – which mostly boils down to clean presentation, large font size, and writing in plain English to the best of my ability – was really all I did in terms of accessibility. There is a lot more that you can do if you want to. I didn’t use videos as part of my campaign, but if you are doing video or audio clips online, do try and make sure there’s a transcript or subtitles available for people who need them.
One thing I wanted to do, but lacked the confidence to, was to write a one-page easy read version of my manifesto, which could have been tucked inside the main document, for the benefit of people with learning disabilities, people with dementia, and anyone else who found the longer manifesto difficult to make sense of. It’ll be different this time – you probably won’t be producing a separate manifesto anyway – but I’ve mentioned it because I regretted not doing it, and you might want to do better.
Finally, apart from Lilita Kruze, who stood in the last Election, there have been very few candidates who’ve been able to communicate with voters here whose first language is something other than English. But if you’ve got a couple of key messages, what about making them available in different languages on your website? It might not be easy to get a reliable translation at short notice (please don’t use an online translation tool!), so this might not be feasible, but it’s another angle to think about if you are considering how best to make your campaign accessible to everyone.
* I mentioned that you might be able to get advice on accessibility from voluntary groups, and from people who share their expertise on social media. Although this is freely available, if you find it useful (and if you can afford to do so), you might want to consider making a donation (in the case of individuals, take a look at whether they have a patreon account or similar) by way of thanks. These are uncertain economic times for everyone, and little courtesies can make a difference.
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