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Voting Methods: Visual Impairment

Question for Department for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities

UIN 58512, tabled on 18 October 2021

To ask the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities, what policy objective his Department seeks to achieve by removing a prescribed device to enable blind and partially sighted people to vote without assistance through proposals in the Elections Bill.

Answered on

26 October 2021

It is integral to our democracy that everybody is able to make their voice heard and that elections are accessible for all those eligible to vote. This is why, for the first time in electoral law, through the Elections Bill, we are putting in place a requirement for Returning Officers to consider the needs of all disabled voters when providing equipment for polling stations.

This will allow Returning Officers to tailor the package of equipment they offer to their voters and to take into account developments in equipment and technology, in order to best meet the needs of people with disabilities including those who have sight loss.

Clear guidance will be issued to Returning Officers by the Electoral Commission, which will be produced in partnership with the Government's expert Accessibility of Elections Working Group, which includes a wide range of stakeholders including the Royal National Institute of Blind People.

We will also work with the group and wider stakeholder networks to publicise the support available and help ensure people get the right support for them.