By Ailsa Irvine, Director of Electoral Administration and Guidance, The Electoral Commission
On Thursday 6 May, people across Great Britain will be going to the polls to vote. These elections are an opportunity for you to have a say on issues that affect your day-to-day life and to choose the people that make decisions in areas such as education, social care and housing.
We know some voters with a disability still face obstacles to voting, and some will also be concerned about participating in elections during a pandemic. So, what do you need to know about taking part in elections on 6 May?
The first step to voting is voter registration – you can’t vote if you’re not registered, and you have until Monday 19 April to register online at: www.gov.uk/registertovote.
Voting in person
If you’re choosing to vote in person you will be doing so at Covid-secure polling stations. You can expect many of the measures you’ve become used to over recent months in shops and other indoor spaces, such as hand sanitisers, floor markings and face coverings.
As always, there is additional support available for voters with disabilities:
- Tactile voting devices and large print sample versions of the ballot paper, to help blind or partially sighted voters mark their ballot paper. You can also take your phone into the polling booth and use the magnifier, torch or text- to-speech apps, to help you vote.
- You can ask polling station staff for help to cast your vote, or to navigate some of the public health measures that will be in place, such as the one-way system or maintaining your distance from other voters. You can also bring someone with you who is over 18 and who is eligible to vote in that election, to help you.
- Wheelchair accessible polling stations and booths. Each polling station should have an entry/exit ramp or a separate entrance, so that everyone can access it. Once inside, every polling station will have a wheelchair accessible polling booth.
Voting by post or proxy
You can also vote by post – which gives you the option to cast your vote in the comfort of your own home, using the assistive technology you’d normally use – or by proxy, where someone you trust votes on your behalf. More information about voting methods can be found on the Electoral Commission’s website:
You have until 20 April to apply to vote by post in England and Wales, and until 27 April to apply to vote by proxy.