Guide to the UK National Elections: Information and Links to Help You Cast Your Vote

Casting your vote is important, we go over some useful information and look at how you can request reasonable adjustments at the polling station

The UK elections are taking place on the 4th July 2024, so a matter of weeks away. We have put together some information and links that you might find useful as we understand voting when you are either blind or partially sighted isn’t always easy or even fully accessible.

Key Dates

If you are not yet registered to vote, you only have until 11.59pm on Tuesday the 18th June 2024 to register. You can register online on the following link https://www.gov.uk/register-to-vote

If you want to vote by post, you will need to apply by 5pm on the 19th June. You can do this by filling in a form on the Government’s website: https://www.gov.uk/apply-postal-vote

If you wish to apply for a proxy vote, i.e. for someone to vote on your behalf if you can’t go to the polling station in person, you have until 26th June 2024. Use this Government website link to apply:  https://www.gov.uk/apply-proxy-vote

Voting in Person

When you go to vote in person this year, you’ll need to show a photo ID at the polling station. If you don’t have a photo ID, you have two options: you can apply for a free Voter Authority Certificate, use this link: https://www.gov.uk/apply-for-photo-id-voter-authority-certificate  Alternatively, you can choose to vote by post, which does not require a photo ID.

You can visit the Electoral Commission website and enter your postcode to find contact details for the electoral services team at your local council and the details of your nearest polling station.

All polling stations must have the necessary support to assist blind and partially sighted voters. This includes:

  • a tactile voting device
  • a large print copy of the ballot paper for reference
  • magnifiers
  • additional lighting
  • ensure polling station staff are available to guide you to the voting booth and assist you in marking your vote if needed.
  • Disabled voters can choose anyone aged 18 or over to assist them in a polling station
  • The dedicated accessibility area can be used on request as a private space to carry out your photo ID check

However, this support may not mean that you can vote independently and in private. Election officials must also anticipate the needs in their area and possibly provide extra equipment, such as audio devices. You can write to your local electoral service to inform them that you need reasonable adjustments to vote independently.

Requesting Reasonable Adjustments

Firstly, find your local Returning Officer contact information, on the Electoral Commission’s postcode look up tool

Secondly, you an use the RNIB template letters to request a reasonable adjustment.  We have linked them for you to download and use here

RNIB Template letter to request an audio device at the polling station

RNIB Template letter to request an audio tactile device at the polling station

This RNIB webpage has lots of information about voting and accessibility RNIB Webpage Voting and Elections . They are also offering assistance if you have any issues, you can contact them by email, campaigns@rnib.org.uk or call their Helpline on 0303 123 9999.

Let the political parties know about important issues affecting blind and partially sighted people

Over the coming weeks, political candidates and campaigners will be talking with voters nationwide. This is an excellent chance for you to advocate for changes on issues that matter to blind and partially sighted people.

The RNIB have some advice on how to speak about important issues that may affect you: RNIB Webpage – how to speak up issues that affect blind and partially sighted people

The Thomas Pocklington Trust has a manifesto outlining key requests for candidates. Visit their website, enter your postcode, and you’ll be provided with a personalised email to send to candidates in your area. Thomas Pocklington Trust – share their key asks with candidates

Guide Dogs have a manifesto that sets out actions the next government can take to improve the lives of people with sight loss Guide Dogs – Election Manifesto

Political Parties Manifesto – Accessible Versions

Lib Demshttps://www.libdems.org.uk/manifesto – see bottom of the page, some are linked here and some are coming soon

Labourhttps://labour.org.uk/change/manifesto-accessibility/ accessible formats can be requested, some are coming soon and some are available to download

Conservativeshttps://manifesto.conservatives.com/ No accessible versions yet visible on their website

Green Partyhttps://greenparty.org.uk/about/our-manifesto/2024-manifesto-downloads/ currently there is an easy read version but no other accessible versions

Reform Partyhttps://www.reformparty.uk/policies currently no accessible versions visible on their website

 

 

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