People with disabilities: voting in elections

Voting in local and general elections should be accessible to you whether you choose to vote at a polling station or in another way, for example, by post.

Polling stations

The Electoral Office for Northern Ireland (EONI) can tell you about:

  • physical access at polling stations - disabled parking spaces and entrance ramps
  • low-level polling booths
  • equipment for voters with a visual impairment

Local disability groups may also be able to give advice and help.

If you need help on polling day, you can apply to the presiding officer when you arrive to vote, asking them to mark your ballot paper for you. Alternatively, they will allow you to vote with a companion's help.

Tactile voting devices for blind or visually impaired people

All polling stations must provide a tactile voting device and at least one large print display version of the ballot paper. You can also ask polling station staff to read the list of candidates and their details to you.

Postal voting and voting by proxy

If you have a disability, you can apply to vote by post or by proxy. You can get an application form by contacting the EONI or by downloading it from the EONI website.

Depending on your disability, you will need to either provide documentary evidence of your disability or get a qualified person to confirm the details you have given.

The form must be returned at least 14 working days before the date of the election.

Voting by post

A ballot paper will be sent to you about 10 days before the date of an election. Mark the ballot paper and return it to the Area Office before 10.00pm on the day of the election.

Voting by proxy

You must nominate another person to go to your polling station on election day and vote on your behalf. The person must agree to do this and must not be acting as a proxy for more than two people unless they are related to them. A poll card will be sent to your proxy telling them which polling station to go to.

Power of attorney and voting

A power of attorney does not extend to the electoral process. An attorney has no powers to vote on behalf of another person, unless they have been appointed proxy on a form signed by the person.

Voting information in alternative formats

The Electoral Commission website 'You vote matters' has information which can be downloaded in large print, various languages and as audio files.

More useful links

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