Organise an Election Husting
Making Every Voice Count: Harnessing Hustings to Champion Disability Rights and Secure Commitments for Change
What is an Election Husting?
A husting is a meeting where election candidates or parties debate policies and answer questions from the audience. Hustings allow voters to hear the views of candidates or parties. This is our chance to make our voices heard and to hold those in power accountable. Don’t miss out!
Let’s Grill the Candidates!
As Deaf and Disabled people’s organisations, we know that political hustings can often be inaccessible to our communities. We also know that our voices are often unheard in the political arena.
That’s why we’re calling on you to organise hustings specifically for Deaf and Disabled voters! These hustings will give us a platform to ask tough questions of the candidates and hold them accountable for their promises. It will also be an opportunity to raise awareness of the issues that matter most to us.
Remember to invite the press and spread the word!
Crucial Tips for Impartiality During Elections
The Electoral Commission has released a guide for organising hustings, which you can access by clicking on the link “Are you holding a hustings? The guide offers several valuable tips, such as ensuring impartiality, inviting all candidates, considering the format and questions, managing the event environment, and complying with legal obligations. They emphasise the importance of neutrality, especially for charities and third parties, to avoid any perception of endorsing a particular candidate or party.
1. Avoid Biased Language:
Use objective and non-partisan language when discussing election-related topics. Avoid making subjective statements or expressing personal opinions that could influence voters’ decisions.
2. Disclose Conflicts of Interest:
If you have personal or professional connections to political parties or candidates, clarify it to your audience. This transparency builds trust and ensures that your impartiality is not compromised.
3. Provide Balanced Coverage:
When reporting on political issues, strive for balanced coverage that gives equal weight to different viewpoints. Avoid favouring or criticising specific parties or candidates.
4. Avoid Promoting Specific Parties or Candidates:
Refrain from explicitly endorsing or promoting any particular political party or candidate. Your role is to provide information, not to influence voters’ choices.
You can find more information about maintaining impartiality during a general election by clicking this link: Campaigning at election time – What you need to know.
Template email to invite election candidates to a husting
Dear [Candidate Name],
We are excited to invite you to join an election husting hosted by our local Deaf and Disabled People’s Organisation (DDPO). This event will provide a platform for you to present your inclusive vision and interact with Disabled voters on issues of paramount importance to our community.
As a local DDPO, we are deeply committed to advocating for the rights and inclusion of Disabled people. Our support for The Disabled People’s Manifesto, underscores our united call for substantial change. We are driven by the vision of an inclusive society where Disabled people are actively involved in policy-making processes that directly affect our lives. The Disabled People’s Manifesto offers a strategic framework to enhance the participation and independence of disabled people in various aspects of life.
We look forward to hearing from you soon.
[Your Title or Position]
[Your Organisation Name]
Link to The Disabled People’s Manifesto: https://www.disabledpeoplesmanifesto.com/manifesto
Hustings Planning Guide
Below is an outline of how to structure your hustings. This is only a template to help your planning, so adapt and make it work.
- Hustings last roughly 90 minutes or a maximum of 2 hours.
- If you are organising an online meeting, set the meeting to start 15 minutes before the public start time so candidates can get settled and fix any connection problems.
- In the event a candidate can’t join, don’t panic! Ask if their campaign manager can stand in their place. And if worst comes to worst, you could ask them to provide a written statement to be read out.
Welcome (10 mins)
The chairperson gives a brief introduction, including Zoom guidelines if it is an online hustings.
Introductory remarks from candidates (15 mins).
This can be useful for attendees who aren’t familiar with candidates. You can frame this around an introductory question, such as “What will you do about social care if elected?” to ensure they stay on topic.
Questions from the chairperson to candidates (25 mins)
We have listed a set of model questions below, which you can draw on
Audience Questions & Answers (20 mins)
You may want to think through how you structure the questions and answers. For example, you could ask attendees to submit questions at the beginning of the event via the Q&A feature.
Closing remarks from candidates (10 mins)
Chairperson closes husting (5 mins).
At some point during your husting make sure you ask candidates if they agree to sign one of the pledges and ask if they’re okay for this information to be public. If candidates agree, take a photo with them holding a printed version of the pledge and post it on social media.
Don’t forget to post photos and critical quotes from candidates on social media during your event using a hashtag. This will allow people unable to join your event to follow along. Using the hashtag means the entire network can connect with the event, too.
Suggested questions to ask parties and candidates
Good questions are a vital part of hustings as they will allow you to probe candidates’ positions and even secure pledges that you can use to hold elected councillors to account. Below are a set of questions. Make sure to tailor the questions as much as possible to your local context.
Inclusivity in Political Roles
- How do you plan to help more Disabled people get involved in government roles, like in parliament or civil service, at all levels?
Funding for Disabled People’s Organisations (DPOs)
- Can you share your ideas for supporting and providing more funds to Deaf and Disabled People Organisations?
- Do you think it’s a good idea to bring back the Access to Elections Fund, which helps cover extra costs for Deaf and Disabled election candidates?
Co-Production of Policies with Disabled People
- How do you plan to work with disabled people and their groups when making policies?
Representation and Advocacy
- What actions will you take to ensure that organisations representing disabled people are actively involved in government decision-making?
Election Accessibility for Disabled Candidates
- What are your thoughts on creating a special fund to help Disabled candidates during elections?
- How will you ensure that Disabled people get the proper support when they apply for welfare benefits?
Right to Independent Living
- The United Nations says disabled people have a right to live independently. How will you make this a reality?
Social Care and Support
- What will you do to solve the social care crisis, scrap care charges, and ensure funding goes to community support instead of institutional care?
Accessible and Affordable Housing
- How do you plan to increase the availability of accessible social housing?
Housing Standards and Safety
- Will you follow the Grenfell inquiry’s suggestion to create Personal Emergency Evacuation Plans for disabled people in flats?
- What steps will you take to make education more inclusive for disabled students?
Infrastructure for Inclusive Access
- What are your plans to make public spaces and transportation more accessible for disabled people?
Workplace Inclusion and Equality for Disabled Employees
- What actions will you take to create a more inclusive workplace for disabled people and address the issues of lower pay and discrimination?
Employment Support and Access to Work Program
- What strategies do you have to help disabled people find and keep good jobs?