Voting with sight loss: what you need to know

July 3, 2024 10:30 am Leave your thoughts

How to vote when you have sight loss

All voters have a right to vote independently and in secret, and local authorities have to ensure that polling stations are accessible to people with sight loss.

With a general election taking place this week, we have been in contact with Cornwall Council to help improve accessibility on polling day.

Cornwall Council have confirmed that all polling stations in Cornwall will offer:

  • Tactile Voting Devices.
  • Large print copies of the ballot paper for reference.
  • Magnifiers
  • Assistance from polling station staff to be guided to the voting booth.

Some polling stations will also be able to offer additional lighting.

Your rights under the Elections Act 2022

A new law, the Elections Act 2022, sets out extra support that councils must provide. This includes allowing you to take someone with you to the polling station to help you vote. Your companion must be over 18 and they will be required to make a written declaration that you have asked for assistance.

You can also request a reasonable adjustment in order to vote independently such as using an app on your phone to read out the text. To request a reasonable adjustment you should contact Cornwall Council on 01872 324196.

Do I need Photo ID?

In order to vote, you must be on the electoral register (also known as the electoral roll) and you must take photo ID to the polling station.

Remember, you can use your Blue Badge or a a disabled persons’ bus pass as photo ID.

For a full list of accepted ID, click here to open the Government’s website in a new tab.

Postal votes

If you have registered to vote by post you will be sent your ballot paper. You can cast your vote in your own home using your own magnifiers or equipment, rather than going to your polling station.

You can also request assistance at home, including a tactile voting device, a large print ballot form for reference, and help with returning your completed ballot form.

If you have not received your postal vote, contact Cornwall Council’s Electoral Services team on 01872 324196.

Voting by proxy

If you are registered to vote but cannot get to a polling station, you can appoint someone you trust to go to your polling station to vote on your behalf. This is called voting by proxy.

Unlike postal voting, you must give a reason for voting by proxy. Explaining you find it difficult to get to the polling station because of your sight loss or another disability should suffice. You needed to have voted to register by proxy at least six working days before the election by completing an application form and sending it back to your local electoral registration office.

It is possible to get an Emergency Proxy vote if an unexpected issue arises after the proxy vote deadline, such as a medical emergency. Contact Cornwall Council as soon as possible if you need an emergency proxy vote.

For more help, questions or concerns, contact Cornwall Council’s Electoral Services team on 01872 324196.

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