The report sets out by recalling the international and European standards favouring the full participation of persons with intellectual disabilities and persons with mental health problems in the electoral process. The comparative law analysis then highlights the diverse approaches adopted in the EU Member States. In a majority of these, persons who have lost their legal capacity are automatically deprived of their right to political participation.
The European Court of Human Rights, however, clearly stated that such an automatic deprivation contravenes the European Convention on Human Rights, to which all EU Member States are party. In other EU Member States, the practice is to organise an individualised assessment of the actual ability to vote of the individuals in question.
Finally, a third group of EU Member States have moved towards full participation of persons with disabilities in the electoral process. The report provides some way forward to make sure that the standards in this area are applied in practice.
FRA Director, Morten Kjaerum: "The right to vote is a fundamental right of all EU citizens, including persons with disabilities. Some EU Member States should therefore adapt their laws so that persons with mental health problems and persons with intellectual disabilities who wish to vote can do so. These individuals should be able to participate in society as other citizens do. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities sends a clear message: it is not persons with disabilities who need to change to fit society, but society itself, which must adapt to the needs of persons with disabilities."
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