Local elections will take place in England on 3 May 2018. In this blog we talk about the importance of voting and how disabled voters can access their polling stations.
150 council seats across England will be up for election, including all seats in London’s 32 boroughs. There will also be direct elections for the Mayor of Hackney, Newham, Tower Hamlets, Watford and the Sheffield City region. Find out if elections are taking place in your area.
It’s important that the voices of disabled people are heard in local elections. Local councils make decisions on a range of issues such as housing and planning, waste collection, road maintenance and local transport. Councils also provide a range of services in areas such as social care and health. Voting, as well as taking part in election events in your local area, gives you the chance to tell your local councillors what’s important to you and what you would like to see them do.
Access to polling stations
All polling stations should be wheelchair accessible and support disabled voters. If you need to use a disabled parking space, these should be clearly visible and monitored throughout the day.
There are lots of ways you can be supported to cast your vote inside a polling station:
- If you cannot mark your ballot paper, members of staff called Presiding Officers may mark your ballot paper for you. You may also attend the polling station with someone who you would like to mark your ballot paper on your behalf.
- Polling stations should provide tactile voting devices. The tactile voting device attaches on top of your ballot paper. It has numbered flaps (the numbers are raised and are in braille) directly over the boxes where you mark your vote.
- Polling stations should provide large print versions of ballot papers.
Polling stations should be accessible for everyone wishing to vote. If for whatever reason your local polling station isn’t accessible, Presiding Officers should provide you with a ballot paper and allow you to vote outside of the polling station. Find more information about getting assistance at polling stations. If you visit a polling station and find it inaccessible, you can complain to your local authority.
Voter ID pilots
The Government are trialling voter ID pilots in five different local authority areas. This means that if you are voting in Bromley, Gosport, Swindon, Watford or Woking you will need to take ID with you to the polling station to vote in the local elections. Without it you won’t be able to vote.
The ID requirements are different in the different council areas. If you live in one of the five areas, you can find out what the ID requirements are where you live.
Make sure your voice is heard in the local elections on Thursday 3 May.