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RNIB survey examines accessibility of the 2017 General Election

Only one in four blind and partially sighted voters said the current voting system allowed them to vote independently and in secret


The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has revealed that blind and partially sighted voters faced significant hurdles at the 2017 General Election.

The charity has released the results of a survey of visually impaired voters in this year’s election that found only one in four voters said the present system allowed them to cast their vote independently and in secret. 

Half of those surveyed would like to see a change to the voting system that would allow them to vote online or by phone.

Eight out of 10 voters who used the tactile template to vote at a polling station said they voted with a companion or member of staff present

London voter, Wayne Chapman, who is blind, told OT that when he went to vote in the 2017 General Election the polling station staff did not know how to use the tactile voting device.

“I had a better experience in the previous election,” he elaborated.

“Accessible voting for blind and partially sighted people should be totally reliable. The current system is hit and miss. It is not suitable for voters who have sight loss,” Mr Chapman emphasised.

RNIB deputy chief executive, Fazilet Hadi, told OT that the Turned Out 2017 survey illustrated that blind and partially sighted voters faced the same barriers in 2017 that they had been confronted with in previous elections.

“We urge the Government to make changes to enable blind and partially sighted people to vote in the way other people take for granted, independently and in secret,” she emphasised.