Mark Whitehead 10 November 2017

Commissioners highlight problems for voters with disabilities

Commissioners highlight problems for voters with disabilities image

Some people were unable to vote in the last general election because of their disabilities, according to the Electoral Commission.

It says most voters with learning and physical disabilities, and people living with mental illness, were happy with registering to vote and voting, but some were unable to vote in secret or were even turned away from a polling station.

Barriers included not being able to understand wording on election forms, not knowing they could ask for a tactile voting device and poor lighting or lack of space inside the polling station.

Some were unaware they could bring someone with them to the polling station to help them or that polling station staff could assist.

The commission’s report ‘Elections for everyone’ will be submitted as its response to a government review.

Electoral Commission chair Sir John Holmes said: 'It is disappointing that we continue to hear about people with disabilities being unable to vote in secret, or even turned away from a polling station.

'This cannot be allowed to happen in our democracy. Voters with a disability should have access to the right support to ensure they can cast their vote with confidence.

'The commission will step up its work with the UK’s governments, disability organisations and everyone involved in running elections to ensure there are no barriers to voting.'

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