Whether you’re #votin or #Brexit, make sure you know your voting rights as a disabled person.
With the EU referendum less than a fortnight away do you know exactly what voting rights you have? Don’t worry there is still time! Read Enable’s ultimate guide to voting and rights and options for disabled people.
Your right to vote Everyone has the right to vote if they are a British, Irish or Commonwealth citizen living in the UK. As long as you are over 18 and registered before 7 June then you can vote in the EU Referendum on 23rd June. You cannot be refused a ballot paper or the chance to vote on the grounds of mental or physical impairment.
Registering to vote If you registered to vote in the local elections last month, or registered prior to the 7 June deadline, then you are now all set to vote and should receive a polling card in the post.
Proxy It is now too late to vote by post but you can still register to vote by proxy. The deadline for this is 5pm tonight so hurry! Voting by proxy means that you appoint someone you trust to vote on your behalf and is really useful if you’re worried that you won’t be able to get to a polling station on 23 June. You can complete a proxy vote form, which is available online, and email it to your local electoral registration office before 5pm tonight.
To find the address details for your local electoral registration office, enter your postcode in the ‘Your local area’ section on www.aboutmyvote.co.uk. To successfully register for a proxy vote both you and the person you nominate to vote on your behalf must be registered to vote.
Voting in Person You can vote in person at your local polling station. Your polling station should be near where you live and will be open from 7am to 10pm.
Before an upcoming vote, you will be sent a polling card if you are registered to vote. This card will tell you the location of your local polling station. You don’t need to bring your polling card with you on polling day.
All polling stations should be wheelchair accessible and support disabled voters. If you need assistance on polling day, you can ask a member of staff, called a Presiding Officer.
If you need to use a disabled parking space, these should be clearly visible and monitored throughout the day.
Additional support If you need assistance voting at the polling station, there are special staff, called Presiding Officers, there to support you to vote.
For instance if you cannot mark your ballot paper, Presiding Officers may mark your ballot paper for you. You may also attend the polling station with someone who you would like to mark your ballot paper on your behalf.
Tactile Voting Devices All polling stations must provide a tactile voting device and at least one large print display version of the ballot paper. This makes it easier to vote without another person’s help if you’re blind or visually impaired. You can also ask polling station staff to read the list of candidates and their details to you.
Polling stations should also provide magnifying assistance. These magnifying sheets can be placed over standard and large print versions of ballot paper to make them easier to read.
A Braille version of the electoral identity card is available for blind or visually impaired people.
Presiding Officers should be able to provide these aids on request.
What if my polling station isn’t accessible? Polling stations should be accessible for everyone wishing to vote. If for whatever reason your local polling station isn’t accessible, Presiding Officers should provide you with a ballot paper and allow you to vote outside of the polling station.
If you visit a polling station and find it inaccessible, you can complain to your local authority. You can find out the contact details of your local authority online.
You can also contact your local Electoral Commission office to find out more information.