Laura Sharman 07 May 2019

Court rules voting provision for blind people is 'unlawful'

Court rules voting provision for blind people is unlawful image

The way in which blind or partially sighted people are able to vote has been declared ‘unlawful’ in a successful legal challenge.

A judicial review has found that the current use of Tactile Voting Devices (TVDs) do not allow blind and partially sighted people to vote without any need for assistance.

The case was brought by Rachael Andrews, who is blind, who argued TVDs do not allow someone to vote independently as they need someone to read out the names of the candidates and the order in which they appear on the ballot paper.

There have also been reports of polling stations not having the TVDs or the TVDs being the wrong size for the ballot paper.

Sean Humber, Rachael’s solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, said: ‘The Government’s far-fetched attempt to reduce the act of voting to simply marking a ballot paper, while conveniently ignoring the need for voters to also know who the candidates are and where they appear on the ballot paper, is an insult to blind and partially sighted voters, who should be able to exercise their voting rights in the same as everyone else - secretly and independently.

’The fact that the technology exists and is used in other countries to allow blind people to vote independently, makes the Government’s inflexibility all the more unacceptable.’

Previous research by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) found that only one in four blind and partially sighted voters felt the current system let them vote independently and in secret. Richard Holmes, public affairs manager at RNIB, said: ‘For years, RNIB has consistently raised concerns about the Tactile Voting Device not being fit for purpose. We have supported Rachael with this case, providing a witness statement and sharing our detailed research into access to elections.’

Pushing for real reform image

Pushing for real reform

The pandemic was a game changer for the central/local government relationship, says Joanne Roney, who has started her two-year stint as president of Solace.
SIGN UP
For your free daily news bulletin
Highways jobs

Health Protection Specialist x2

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£35,745 - £40,876 per annum
We are looking for an experienced and enthusiastic person to join our public health team. Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Wandsworth Grants and Project Support Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£28,452 to £34,479 per annum
This is an exciting new role within the Wandsworth Voluntary Sector team and wider Community and Partnerships Team. London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Performance and Management Information Support Officer

Brent Council
£30,048 - £31,557 p.a. inc.
We have an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic individual to join our Children and Young People’s Performance Team. Wembley, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Brent Council

Assistant Director - Inclusion

Suffolk County Council
£75,745 - £93,245 pa
We are seeking a highly skilled Assistant Director Ipswich, Suffolk
Recuriter: Suffolk County Council

Lead Course Tutor (Avalon Project)

Camden London Borough Council
£30,893
The post will be principally based at the project site in Euston where the sessions are run. Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Public Property

Latest issue - Public Property News

This issue of Public Property examines how how flexible workspaces can lead the way in regeneration for local authorities, Why local authority intervention is key to successful urban regeneration schemes and if the Government’s challenge of embracing beauty is an opportunity for communities.

The March issue also takes a closer look at Blackburn with Darwen Council's first digital health hub to help people gain control over health and care services.

Register for your free digital issue