Voting with a disability
We already have a range of support options for disabled voters however in May 2023 the Elections Act will make further changes to what help is currently available.
All of our polling stations are:
- Wheelchair accessible or provided ramps for those that aren't
- Have polling booths adapted specifically for wheelchair users
- Ballot box slot highlighted for the visually impaired to show where the ballot paper is placed
- Have large print ballot papers in all polling booths
- Have aids to enable blind voters to cast their vote without support (Tactile Voting Device)
Our polling stations will also allow voters with disabilities to use any text-to-speech apps, torch or magnifier that they have on their phone to assist them in the reading of their ballot papers, even though mobile phones are not generally permitted in the polling stations.
How to use a Tactile Voting Device
This Tactile Voting Device is a device that can be attached to a ballot paper to align the numbers on the numbered flaps with each voting box in line of each candidates.
A companion or the Presiding Officer at the polling station would read out the name and descriptions of each candidate in the order they appear on the ballot paper advising what number on the numbered flaps they align with.
When the elector is ready to cast their vote, they will lift the relevant numbered flap(s) to reveal the box on the ballot paper where they would then make their mark(s) on their ballot paper(s). The Tactile Voting Device is then removed from the ballot paper and the elector can proceed with placing their ballot paper(s) into the ballot box.
Companions who can provide assistance in the polling station
If you require support in order to complete you're vote then you can bring someone along with you, however if there is no one available then the presiding officer at the polling station is also available to offer that support.
Anyone over the age of 18 can act as a companion to assist you in the polling station. Any companion will be required to complete a declaration by companion to confirm they have assisted an elector in the polling station/voting booth.
Postal and proxy voting
There is also the option to arrange a postal vote (where your ballot paper is sent to you in the post 2 weeks before poll) or a proxy vote (where someone votes on your behalf) if you do not wish to vote at a polling station yourself.
For more information on Disabled peoples voting rights please click here.
Linked below are some useful guides for voters with a learning disability
Registering to Vote
Voter ID/Voter Authority Certificates
Apply for a postal vote
Mencap's Guide to voting by post
Electoral Commissions Guide to voting by post (YouTube video)
Apply for a proxy vote
Mencap's Guide to voting by proxy
Electoral Commissions Guide to voting by proxy (YouTube video)
Voting in a polling station
Mencap's Guide to voting at a polling station
What changes to expect with The Elections Act May 2023
- Changes to the election forms so that they're easier to understand
- give people with disabilities more ways to vote
- change to the law in who people with disabilities can bring to a polling station
- political parties must make their information easier to read and understand
- political parties must send their information allowing enough time for people to read it
- political parties must publish accessible versions of manifestos at the same time as other versions
- make registering to vote and voting more accessible
- make helplines more accessible
- support those who need need help to vote