With the recent announcement of the 2024 General Election, political parties are gearing up and voters are getting ready to head to the polling stations.

For individuals living with disabilities, the opportunity to take part in the democratic process means addressing the unique challenges they face in accessing polling stations, understanding the resources available, and their voting rights.

Voting if you are living with a disability

The Equality Act 2010 mandates that reasonable adjustments must be made to ensure that people living with disabilities can access polling stations and cast their vote.

Your local authority is legally obligated to make reasonable adjustments which may include:

  • Ensuring that entrances, exits, and voting areas are accessible to wheelchair users. This can involve installing ramps, widening doorways, and ensuring pathways are clear of obstacles.
  • Providing designated accessible parking spaces close to the polling station.
  • Clear and easy-to-read signs that direct voters to the polling station and provide information on the accessibility features available.
  • Offering assistance such as a tactile voting device, large print ballot papers, or allowing a companion to assist with voting.

What if I need assistance with my ballot paper?

If you need support to complete a ballot paper, you can bring along either a:

  • Carer
  • Friend
  • Relative

These individuals do not have to be eligible to vote and will not need to bring photo ID with them. They do need to be 18 years or older. The leading officer at the polling station is also able to help you fill in your ballot paper.

Polling stations should also have various pieces of equipment available to ensure everyone is able to vote. These include:

  • Magnifiers that increase the size of text on a document. The polling station should have more than one strength.
  • Tactile voting device which provides support for voters living with a visual impairment to mark their vote in the right place.
  • Pencil grip that allows a voter living with dexterity impairments to hold the pencil more easily.

I am unable to get to the polling station

If you are unable to visit a polling station, you can vote via post (a postal vote) or proxy (someone voting on your behalf).

To vote via post, you must apply for this which can be found here.

Postal votes are useful for those who find it difficult to move and stand for longer periods or are unable to leave their house.

Voting by proxy means someone votes on your behalf. You must apply for a proxy vote and there are certain requirements that must be met. Details can be found here.

Much like postal votes, voting by proxy is useful if you are unable to leave your house and wish for a trusted individual to vote on your behalf.

Voting day

Voting for the 2024 General Election will take place on the 4th July, 2024 and polling stations will be open from 7am to 10pm.

In order to vote, photo ID must be shown.

Accessible voting is not only a legal right; it is a fundamental aspect of an inclusive democracy that listens to the voices of all. For any more information on voting, we recommend visiting Gov.uk