Cross-sections for excitation of the 2$^3$P state of helium from the ground state have been calculated by the distorted-wave method. The polarization of radiation emitted as a result of the excitation is also calculated. Comparison is made with the corresponding results given by the Born-Oppenheimer approximation. Although there are considerable differences at electron energies below 100 eV these are much less marked than for the excitation of the 2$^3$S state. The distorted wave method gives cross-sections in closer agreement with observation but substantial discrepancies still remain. It is difficult, however, to estimate their magnitude with any certainty because there are inconsistencies in the observed data.