Accessibility at polling stations

Find out about measures we have in place to assist with accessibility at polling stations.

Everyone should be able to cast their vote at an election without facing barriers. They should be able to vote on their own and in secret. The Elections Act 2022 introduces changes to ensure accessibility for disabled voters at polling stations.

Polling places across East Renfrewshire will be open from 7am to 10pm. If there's a queue, you'll still be able vote as long as you joined it before 10pm.

What's new?

Disabled voters will be able to choose anyone who is over 18 to accompany them in the polling station to help them vote. You can also ask the person in charge of the polling station, known as the Presiding Officer, to help you fill in your ballot paper. They are legally bound by the Requirement for Secrecy and your vote will remain secret.

Accessing the polling station

  • all polling stations are visited and assessed in advance of an election in terms of accessibility.
  • temporary ramps are put in place to support access for voters who use a wheelchair or have difficulty using steps
  • where possible polling stations are identified which have car parking provision so that disabled voters may park as close as possible to the station.

Information for voters

To help voters understand the voting process and how to mark their ballot paper the following are provided at each polling station:

  • a notice inside and outside the polling station providing instructions on how to vote at the election.
  • a notice in each polling booth providing information on how to mark the ballot paper at the election.
  • large print sample copies of the ballot paper displayed inside the polling station to assist voters who are partially sighted and also voters who would like some time to look at the ballot paper before entering the polling booth.
  • an enlarged hand-held copy of the ballot paper. This can be given to voters who are partially sighted to take into the polling booth for reference when marking their ballot paper.

Support within the polling station

Every polling station will have the following equipment and support in place:

  • chair/seating for voters who cannot stand for long periods.
  • magnifiers to increase the size of the text on a document.
  • tactile voting device to support those visually impaired to mark their vote on the ballot paper in the correct place.
  • polling booth at wheelchair level to ensure voters who use a wheelchair are able to access a lower writing surface and cast their vote in secret in a booth that is accessible.
  • badges which clearly identify polling station staff who can assist.
  • pencil grips to help voters with dexterity impairments to more easily hold and use a pencil independently.
  • additional staff at entrances/exits at polling stations where doors are required to remain shut - for example, fire doors.

In addition to the above, the Returning Officer also allows voters with disabilities to use any text-to-speech apps, torch or magnifier that they have on their phone, to assist them in reading their ballot paper.

Ways to vote

Voting in person at the polling station is not the only way you can vote. You may also apply to vote by post or proxy.  Further information is available on our voting webpage.

Get in touch

To ask for a reasonable adjustment at your polling station, share ideas or provide feedback you can send us an email at: electionoffice@eastrenfrewshire.gov.uk

Last modified on 15 March 2024