The 2022 Elections Act introduces changes to assist voters with disabilities at polling stations.
At The Polling Station
Where required, our polling stations will have ramps installed to assist with wheelchair access.
Each polling station has a polling booth suitable for use by wheelchair users.
Information for voters
To help voters understand the voting process and how to mark their ballot paper, we will provide the following information at each polling station:
- A notice inside and outside of the polling station providing instructions on how to vote at the election.
- A notice in each polling station booth providing information on how to mark the ballot paper at the election.
Voting aids for visually impaired or blind people
- Large print notices - we display a large print copy of the ballot paper(s) in every polling station.
- Tactile voting device - every polling station has a tactile voting device which can be attached to the ballot paper. It has numbered flaps that cover each candidate or option on the ballot paper. The numbers are embossed in black and include braille markings. To cast a vote, the relevant flap should be lifted to enable the voter to make a mark against the desired candidate or option. The device is then be removed from the paper and the ballot paper can be put into the ballot box.
What's available in the polling station?
Every polling station will have the following equipment and support in place:
- Rest chairs/seating for voters who cannot stand for long periods.
- Magnifiers to increase the size of the text on a document.
- Job Title Badges to identify polling station staff who can assist.
- Pencil grips to help voters with dexterity needs
In addition to this, the Returning Officer also allows voters to use text-to-speech apps, torches or magnifiers on their phone to assist them with reading their ballot paper. Please make the polling station staff aware if you are using one of these apps.
Who can assist?
Voters with disabilities will be able to choose anyone who is over 18 to accompany them in the polling station to help them vote.
The Presiding Officer who is in charge of the polling station, can give advice and assistance to fill in the ballot paper. The Presiding Officer is legally bound by the Requirements for Secrecy and the vote will remain secret.
We will also make all reasonable adjustments to support voters with disabilities to improve the range and quality of support.
Other ways of voting
Although it's now too late for the May 2023 Elections, if you do not want to go to the polling station to vote, you can vote by post or proxy. Voters with a disability can apply for a permanent proxy vote.