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Make sure your voice is heard this June
Disability issues are regularly discussed by members of the main political parties, and elections allow the public to choose who they want to run the country and local area.
Registering to vote is the first step in being able to have your say in elections. You need to make sure you are registered. You can register to vote either online or by printing off paper forms.
The Electoral Commission advises that polling stations must ensure that disabled voters are not offered a lower standard of service than other voters. Polling stations must make reasonable adjustments to practices and procedures so that disabled people are not disadvantaged in any way.
What should you expect at the polls? We have summarised the Electoral Commission accessibility checklist to make sure you have what you need this election. Remember, your local Electoral Registration Office can tell you about:
You should expect a large polling station sign so that you can easily identify the polling station. Directions should steer you to an entrance. If there is a more accessible entrance for mobility needs, that should also be clearly signposted. You should be able to see and read the 'Guidance for voters' when you arrive.
Disabled car parking should be clearly visible and monitored throughout the day. Staff should be able to tell you the nearest parking facilities available to you, should you need them.
The polling station should be accessible for all. Officers should know how to install and check temporary and secure low gradient ramps. No obstructions or hazards should block your way.
Doors should always be propped open for designated disabled access route, except fire doors. Loose doormats should be removed if there is a danger of tripping.
You should be able to move smoothly through the process, especially if there is limited space. You should be able to move to the booths and the ballot box without any problems. The ballot box must be accessible and secure for all voters. Polling agents should be available to observe, but not interfere
Polling stations should provide adequate lighting for people with visual impairments. This should be available in the polling booth, where large print versions of ballot papers are displayed. You can also request large hand-held copies of ballot papers marked with 'sample', should you need them. Low level polling booths should be available for wheelchair users. A white strip around the slot of the ballot box should be provided for people with visual impairments.
All booths should have instruction notices. Staff should check these regularly.
Polling stations must supply a tactile voting device by law. Staff may suggest you use this device where appropriate.
Disabled voters may request the assistance of the Presiding Officer to mark the ballot paper for them. Alternatively, they can bring someone with them to help them vote (this person must be an immediate family member over 18 years old or a qualified elector).
Chairs should be provided if you need to rest.
Contact the Electoral Registration Officer at your local authority to ask specific questions about the accessibility requirements you have. The Returning Officer for your station is supposed to make arrangements to ensure disabled voters have the same access to the electoral process as anyone else.
To find your local Electoral Registration Officer, enter your postcode at www.aboutmyvote.co.uk.
You can also read more about accessibility and what to expect by reading the polling station handbook for polling staff provided by the Electoral Commission. This handbook includes guidance on assisting disabled voters.
Need to contact your local registration officer.
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