Changes to voting day set to help disabled people

Besi Besemar April 17, 2015

Voting day arrangements have been organised to make voting easier for disabled voters.

Nancy Platts: Labour candidate for Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven
Nancy Platts: Labour candidate for Brighton Kemptown & Peacehaven

THE changes, confirmed by Labour’s parliamentary candidate for Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven Nancy Platts will ensure disabled voters have better access to polling stations and more chances to have their voices heard.

Nancy wrote to the Chief Executives of Brighton and Hove City Council and Lewes District Council to request they clarify how disabled residents will be able to vote in the elections on May 7.

The 2015 general election will be the first nationwide election where every individual needs to register their right to vote. This has led to concerns that some residents will fall off the electoral roll.

Brighton and Hove City Council chief executive Penny Thompson CBE and her counterpart at Lewes District Council, Jenny Rowlands, have confirmed by email:

• Local charities, care homes and sheltered housing organisations have been encouraged to talk to people they work with to explain the new individual electoral registration process.

• Full reviews have already taken place of all polling stations to check access for voters with mobility issues.

• Instructions have been sent to presiding officers to offer assistance to voters to enter the polling station – or even bring the voter’s ballot paper out to the person to ensure that they can fill it in – if there is no disabled access.

• Low-level polling booths, suitable for use by voters using wheelchairs, larger print ballot paper instructions and tactile voting devices can be provided.

Nancy Platts welcomed the changes saying: “The officials at our local councils should be congratulated for helping to ensure all voters’ voices can be heard. The message to disabled and visually impaired voters is clear – you can have your say in confidence.

“Disabled people can face many barriers and it’s important that the next government champions their rights. I will fight for the repeal of the hated bedroom tax, more accessible transport and a drive to encourage more businesses to offer jobs to disabled workers.

“Every vote will count in Brighton Kemptown and Peacehaven and I urge all residents to ensure they are registered to vote and take part in the election.”