Voting with a disability Voting with a disability Easy Read Guide to Voting at the Local Council Elections on 18 May 2023 (PDF) EONI work to ensure that all residents in Northern Ireland are on the electoral register and are able to cast their vote. There are a number of provisions in place to support electors who require additional assistance to cast their vote: Polling station voting If you need additional support in the polling station then please speak to one of the members of polling station staff. All polling station staff will be wearing badges to easily identify them. If a disability prevents you from being able to complete a ballot paper on your own, the presiding officer is there to assist you, or you can take a companion - a friend or a relative - to the polling station to help you. Your companion has to be 18 years old or over. Accessibility Other equipment that is available in the polling station to help includes: All polling stations have booths adapted for wheelchair users. The entrance to the polling station will be well-signposted. In some polling stations, there will be an alternative accessible entrance other than the main entrance - in this situation that alternative accessible entrance will be well signposted too. EONI work hard to ensure all polling stations are as accessible as possible. Where buildings are not accessible EONI provide ramps to be used at the polling station on election day. If you have concerns about the accessibility of your polling station, then please let them know. Extra seating Long pencils and pencil grips If you feel nervous about attending your polling station, then please don’t worry. The staff are there to help and support all voters. If you want to go when the polling station is quieter EONI would recommend you attend during times that are less busy (e.g. mid-morning or early afternoon). Voters with sight impairments A large print version of the ballot paper will be on display inside the polling station and you can request a large hand held version of the ballot paper too. You can use the large print copy to read all the information on the ballot form, but you must still cast your vote on a standard print ballot paper. You can also request a reading light and/or a magnifying glass to read the standard ballot paper that you must complete - just ask the member of staff. Each polling station will have a tactile voting device. The tactile voting device has a sticky backing, which attaches on top of your ballot paper. It has numbered lift up flaps (the numbers are raised and in braille) directly over the boxes where you mark your vote. You will need to use the large print ballot form, use the telephone service or ask someone (a companion or polling station staff) to read out the list of candidates to you. The candidates are in alphabetical order. You will need to remember the numbers of the candidates you wish to vote for, then lift the flap with the same number and mark your preferences (1, 2, 3 etc) in the box. You can then detach the tactile device and fold your ballot paper in half before posting it in the ballot box. There is also a telephone service you can use. This service will read out the ballot paper to you whilst you complete your vote with the help of the tactile voting device, magnifying glass or large print version. This can be used in the polling station (just tell the staff you are using this service so you are allowed to use your phone) or if you are completing a postal vote at home. The phone numbers for each Local Council area are listed below. Find your Polling Station, Council Area and District Electoral Area (link to external site) Please note this service is not currently open – EONI expect the service to open on Friday 28 April. EONI will confirm on this page when the service is available. Local Council Phone Number Antrim and Newtownabbey Borough Council 028 9013 9743 Ards and North Down Borough Council 028 9013 9744 Armagh City, Banbridge and Craigavon Borough Council 028 9013 9745 Belfast City Council 028 9013 9746 Causeway Coast and Glens Borough Council 028 9013 9747 Derry City and Strabane District Council 028 9013 9748 Fermanagh and Omagh District 028 9013 9749 Lisburn and Castlereagh City Council 028 9013 9750 Mid and East Antrim Borough Council 028 9013 9751 Mid Ulster District Council 028 9013 9752 Newry, Mourne and Down District Council 028 9013 9753 Voters with hearing impairments EONI are happy to provide your polling station with a hearing induction loop if this would help you. EONI currently do not provide these to every polling station as a matter of course but you can request a hearing induction loop for your polling station. Please email your request to [email protected] by Friday 5 May 2023. Further information If you don't want to go to the polling station to vote, please remember that all voters are entitled to vote by post or proxy if they apply for each election. Voters with long-term disabilities are also allowed to apply for long term postal votes and to vote by proxy. A postal vote - If you have registered to vote by post you will be sent your ballot paper. You can cast your vote in your own home using your own magnifiers or equipment, rather than going to your polling station. Voting by post or proxy page. A proxy - where you can appoint someone you trust to go to your polling station to vote on your behalf. Voting by post or proxy page. EONI continue to review and improve the voting experience for voters who have disabilities. If there is more EONI can do, for example additional equipment EONI could provide, then please let us know by contacting us on 028 9044 6680 or email [email protected].