Guidance for Returning Officers - Assistance with voting for disabled voters

Assistance with voting for disabled voters

Every person should be able to register and vote without facing barriers.

This guidance provides information and advice on the actions you and your staff can take to help remove some of the barriers and challenges disabled voters face when voting at the polling station. It aims to support you in:

  • identifying and providing equipment at polling stations which will enable or make it easier for disabled voters to vote independently and in secret
  • ensuring those working to support the poll are aware of accessibility needs of disabled voters and the steps they should take to support them  

We have consulted with a wide range of organisations representing disabled people when drafting this guidance. The responses received informed us about what the voting experience at polling stations is like for disabled voters and the practices and equipment that could help to improve their experience. The guidance reflects the feedback received from those individuals and organisations as far as is possible within the scope of the guidance and the relevant legislation. 

How to use this guidance

Throughout this guidance we use the word must to refer to a specific legal requirement and the word should for recommended practice.

As Returning Officer (RO), you must have regard to the guidance on equipment to be provided in polling stations1 as part of your wider duties to consider the needs of disabled voters at polling stations, make reasonable adjustments and provide equipment. 

We will keep this guidance under regular review, including in relation to the equipment that should be provided as a minimum and any additional equipment and support. We will ask for feedback from voters and electoral administrators on the equipment provided to support disabled voters as part of our reporting on elections and to support the identification and sharing of good practice.