Accessible voting for all

Anyone who's eligible to vote on polling day should be able to do so independently.  

A range of support is available to help voters with disabilities and helpful guides have been produced by a range of organisations including The Electoral Commission and My Vote My Voice which is a campaign developed by United Response, Dimensions, Mencap, Ambitious About Autism and the people who draw on their care and support.

Register to vote

To be able to cast your vote on polling day, you must first be registered to vote. My Vote My Voice have produced a useful guide to help you register to vote.  

You can register to vote online at register to vote or by completing a paper form.

If you cannot register online, My Vote My Voice have produced an easy read invitation to register form that can be completed and returned to us at The Elections Office, Town Hall, Westoe Road, South Shields, NE33 2RL.

For more information about registering to vote see Register to vote or Contact the Elections Office.

Voting and Election Day

Polling station staff are trained to help any voter who asks for it.

Each polling station will have the following equipment to help voters with disabilities vote easily.

  • Pencil grips
  • A tactile voting device
  • A large print copy of the ballot paper
  • An audio device (to listen to an audio description of the ballot paper)
  • A magnifying glass
  • Additional lighting if needed for the polling booth
  • Seating (where space allows)
  • Coloured overlay sheets for people with dyslexia
  • An easy read guide explaining how to vote
  • A polling station support booklet that voters can download and hand to polling station staff so they can understand what help the voter needs

The Electoral Commission have produced a guide about voter ID  and a polling station support booklet which you can download.

My Vote My Voice have produced how to vote guide which gives information on how to cast your vote.

In the videos below, Harry and Charlotte from Mencap talk about their experiences of voting in a polling station and how they think this can be improved for people with a learning disability.

In the video below, Hugh from the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB) talks about his experience of voting in a polling station and how this can be improved for people with a visual impairment.

[youtube link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UJyOgWdDJ2I"]

This year Mencap has joined with My Vote My Voice, which brings together different charities to campaign to remove voting barriers and raise awareness about people with learning disabilities and autistic people's right to vote. 

For more information, see Mencap: Guides to voting.


BSL Voting Guides

The Electoral Commission and the British Deaf Association have produced a number of videos explaining how to vote and voting procedures for the Local Government elections. 

[youtube link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3dd-bIO70IU"]

[youtube link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jRyl3QKSVO8&list=PLm0G6YKL5VxIHsL_-6Hdq_xtdMXvIppIj&index=2"]

[youtube link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3P8rcp-otOg&list=PLm0G6YKL5VxIHsL_-6Hdq_xtdMXvIppIj&index=3"]

[youtube link="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qCLfIJYKPP0&list=PLm0G6YKL5VxIHsL_-6Hdq_xtdMXvIppIj&index=4"]


Voter ID - Voter Authority Certificate

The Electoral Commission have produced an easy read guide to help voters apply for a Voter Authority Certificate. 

The Electoral Commission easy read guide to apply for a voter authority certificate (PDF) [1MB]

For more information about how to apply, please see Voter ID: New requirement for voters to provide photographic identification at polling stations .