From 04 May 2023, improvements will be made to elections to help with accessibility
The UK Government is proposing to make it easier for people with disabilities to vote.
Everyone should be able to register and cast their vote without facing barriers. A person with a disability may not know their voting rights, have the confidence to cast their vote or face issues when going to a polling station or voting by post. The new proposals seek to change this and help by improving the support offered at an election.
The proposals also cover:
- Enabling voters with disabilities to choose anyone who is over 18 to help them to vote at a polling station.
- Requiring Returning Officers to take all reasonable steps to provide support to people with disabililties at polling stations.
Polling Station Companion
A Polling Station Companion may help someone that finds the process of voting hard or confusing. The Companion is a letter and form that holds information of a registered voter so that staff at a polling station can make sure they can help in the right way.
The registered voter hands the Polling Station Companion to the member of staff who will then check the details on the register and offer help and assistance throughout the process of voting.
The staff member will not be able to vote on the person's behalf, or indicate who they should vote for but offer guidance on where to mark the ballot paper against their choice to make sure it isn't rejected.
The voter will then be shown to the ballot box, where the ballot paper needs to be put in to ensure it is stored securely.
If you, or someone you know may benefit from this please get in touch with the elections team on 01303 853497 or by email at email@example.com.
To apply for a Polling Station Companion, you must be registered to vote and vote at a polling station (not by post).
Working with the RNIB
The elections team have worked with the Royal National Institute of Blind People charity to ensure measures are in place to assist partially sighted or blind electors at the polling station.
There will be a list of candidates posted on the website in a format that works best with audible readers and web-based reading technologies.
They can be listened to whilst using a Tactile Voting Device at the polling station.
More information on accessibility at elections can be found on the Electoral Commission's website by clicking here.