Ahead of the general election this month we are supporting London Vision’s calls to make voting more accessible. Frustratingly, for many blind and partially sighted people in the capital, voting – either by post or at the polling station – remains fundamentally inaccessible and rarely private, underlining the need for wholesale change to the voting system. We are calling on returning offers and polling station staff to ensure they commit to the four point plan laid out below:
Large print ballot papers – Large print copies of the ballot paper should be available in every polling station, and people voting should be free to take them into the booth with them.
Tactile Voting Device – Does your polling station have a tactile voting device (TVD)? This device helps blind and partially sighted people vote more independently. Do your polling staff know how to use it? Please make sure the TVD is available on voting day.
Help with voting – Returning officers are allowed to help blind and partially sighted constituents cast their vote; likewise, constituents can bring a companion to help them. Please make sure voters know they can ask for your help.
Lighting – Please ensure at least one voting booth is brightly lit to help constituents with partial sight see the ballot paper better.
We’re also encouraging everyone voting on Thursday 12th December to ask about accessible voting and to share their experiences using the hashtag #VIVoting. We want to know where voting works, and where it doesn’t, to build a picture across London so we can challenge local authorities to make improvements for the future.