Accessible Voting

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Support in the polling station

Voters with disabilities are able to choose anyone who is over 18 to accompany them in the polling station to help them vote. They can also ask the person in charge of the polling station, known as the Presiding Officer, to help them fill in their ballot paper. The Presiding Officer is legally bound by the Requirements for Secrecy and the vote will remain secret.

What other people can do:

  • Assist you moving around the polling station.
  • Read out the candidates’ names and parties on the ballot paper in order.
  • Explain the voting options to you.
  • Use their knowledge of your communication methods to understand who you want to vote for.
  • Come into the polling booth with you.
  • Mark the ballot paper with your decision if you permit them to do so.

What other people can’t do:

  • Decide for you on who to vote for.
  • Mark the ballot paper against your wishes.
  • Stop you from voting because you have a disability or require additional support.

Additional support required

Please let the polling station staff know if you require any additional support to exercise your right to vote. Polling station staff can be identified by wearing a badge which says either Presiding Officer or Poll Clerk. They are trained to help. For example, if you require:

  • To be shown a large print version of a ballot paper
  • To use the Tactile Voting Device
  • To use the magnifiers to increase the size of text on documents
  • To use a pencil grip to help with a dexterity impairment
  • Chair/seating if you cannot stand for long periods
  • To be able to lip read

Wheelchair Access

The polling stations have wheelchair access. The ramped access may not be through the main door, but it will be clearly signposted.

If it is difficult for you to access the polling station, the Presiding Officer can bring a ballot paper(s) out to you. Once you have voted, fold the ballot paper and the Presiding Officer will put it in the ballot box for you.

Each polling station has a low level polling booth suitable for use by wheelchair users.

Voting aids for visually impaired or blind voters

  • Large print notices – a large print copy of the ballot paper(s) is displayed in every polling station. These can be used as a reference because the law states that the vote must be cast on a standard print ballot paper.
  • 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 removed from the paper and the ballot paper can be put into the ballot box.

In addition to this, voters with disabilities are allowed to use any text-to-speech apps, torch or magnifier that they have on their phone to assist them with reading their ballot paper. Voters using one of these apps should inform the polling station staff.

Ask for a reasonable adjustment

We will also make all reasonable adjustments to support voters with disabilities to improve the range and quality of support.

To request a reasonable adjustment at a polling station in advance of an election you can email or phone 01473 432000, your request will be considered and you will receive a response.

Other ways of voting

If you do not want to go to the polling station to vote, you can vote by post or proxy (you select and instruct a trusted friend or relative to vote on your behalf.) Voters with a disability can have a permanent proxy vote.

Guidance for voters with a learning disability

An easy read guide, Voting at a polling station can be found on the Mencap website.