In the lead up to last month’s general election, there was speculation as to whether disabled access at polling stations would have improved from the last election in 2010.
In 2010, almost two thirds of polling stations were inaccessible to disabled voters. A survey by Scope also found that some accessibility had even declined since 2005, with fewer large print ballot papers to help the visually impaired.
Following May’s election, it has emerged that accessibility hasn’t improved, which is disappointing news to people campaigning for improved disabled access.
- 24% of people with a disability experienced problems voting last month
- Problems included no level access, inaccessible ballot boxes and voting booths, lack of disabled parking spaces, lack of hearing loop, staff at polling stations unable to help and no large print ballot papers
- 17% of people who voted by post also had difficulties. Print was too small to read and/or the instructions were confusing
There is still much more to do in improving access. This includes physical access to the building and voting booths once inside, as well as larger printed ballot papers for visually impaired people. Registration and polling cards also need to be available in easy to read and understand versions for people with learning disabilities, as only a third of those who have a learning disability vote.