United Kingdom


  1. Do visually impaired (hereafter VI) people suffer any restrictions to their rights to vote and/or to be elected? If yes, give details.
  2. During election campaigns what measures are taken to ensure that VI people are ensured full autonomy concerning the availability of information distributed by candidates, access to pre-electoral meetings, access to different campaign media?
    This is patchy in practice. It depends to some extent on the whim of different political parties and authorities as to whether information about candidates and from candidates is readily available in accessible formats.
  3. Are special measures put in place to ensure that polling stations are accessible to VI people?


    The provisions of the Representation of the People Act 2000 included statutory requirement to make voting more accessible. Local authorities have to ensure that polling stations don't disadvantage disabled people. By law, every polling station must display a large print copy of the ballot paper for reference. They must also provide a reference copy for you to take into the booth with you. You must still cast your vote on a standard print ballot paper. Each polling station must provide a tactile device. The tactile voting device has a sticky backing, which attaches on top of the ballot paper. It has numbered lift up flaps (the numbers are raised and in braille) directly over the boxes where you make your mark. The candidates are in alphabetical order. You will need to remember the number of the candidate you wish to vote for. Then lift the flap with the same number and mark your cross (X) in the box. You can then detach the tactile device and fold your ballot paper in half before posting it in the ballot box.

  4. Within polling stations, what measures are taken to ensure that VI people can exercise their rights in an autonomous and confidential manner?

    Displaying a large print version of the ballot paper for reference

    Provide a hand-held copy of the ballot paper to take into the polling station for reference

    Providing a tactile voting device (this attaches to the ballot paper and usually includes lift up flaps above the boxes)

    Allowing a companion or Presiding Officer to mark the ballot paper

    Allowing postal votes on demand

  5. In the case of proportional elections (by lists of candidates), what measures are taken to ensure that VI people can exercise their rights in an autonomous and confidential manner?
  6. Are their measures in place to assist VI people in the polling booths and when casting their vote in the urns?
    Yes, as above, allowing a companion or Presiding Officer to mark the ballot paper.

    Disabled voters can request the assistance of polling station staff. They can help guide people between the entrance, desk, polling booth and ballot box. They can also vote on your behalf. If you prefer you may bring a companion with you who can do the same. This person must be an immediate family member over 18 years old or a 'qualified elector' - which means someone who is legally able to vote in a UK election. 

    People can also choose to vote by proxy or by post.

  7. Are voting machines in place in your country? If yes, please detail how these are made accessible to VI people.


  1. Can VI people in your country participate in an unrestricted manner in political parties, unions, public and political organisations and associations?
  2. Are their VI people in who have been elected to political, trade-union or associative office in your country?
  3. Do VI people in your country have unrestricted access to administrative office, including at top-level?


  1. Please give an overview of the number/type of associations or organisations representing VI people in your country.

    The UK VI sector sits under the umbrella of Vision2020UK. The following are members.

    1.   Action for Blind People

    2.   Association of British Dispensing Opticians

    3.   Association of Optometrists (AOP)

    4.   Birdshot Uveitis Society

    5.   Blind Veterans UK (formerly St Dunstan's)

    6.   BlindAid (formerly Metropolitan Society for the Blind)

    7.   British & Irish Orthoptic Society

    8.   British Blind Sport

    9.   British Council for the Prevention of Blindness

    10. British Wireless for the Blind Fund

    11. Childhood Eye Cancer Trust, The

    12. Christian Blind Mission

    13. College of Optometrists, The

    14. Deafblind UK

    15. Federation of Ophthalmic and Dispensing Opticians, The (FODO)

    16. Fight for Sight

    17. Fred Hollows Foundation (UK), The

    18. Guide Dogs

    19. Henshaws Society for Blind People

    20. IMPACT Foundation

    21.  International Glaucoma Association (IGA)

    22. Keratoconus Group, The

    23. Lions Clubs International MD105

    24. LOOK

    25. Macular Disease Society, The

    26.  Moorfields Eye Hospital NHS Foundation Trust

    27.  National Blind Children's Society, The

    28. National Federation of the Blind of the UK

    29. National League of the Blind and Disabled

    30. Nystagmus Network

    31. One Clear Vision Limited

    32. Partially Sighted Society, The

    33. RNIB

    34. Royal College of Nursing Ophthalmic Nursing Forum, The

    35. Royal College of Ophthalmologists

    36. Royal London Society for the Blind

    37. Royal National College for the Blind, The

    38. RP Fighting Blindness (BRPS)

    39. SeeAbility

    40. Sense

    41. Share the Vision (Libraries) Ltd.

    42. Social Care Association (SCA)

    43. Thomas Pocklington Trust

    44.  TORCH TRUST for the Blind

    45.  Uveitis Information Group (Scotland)

    46. VICTA: Visually Impaired Children Taking Action

    47.  VIEW

    48.  VISION 2020 Leeds

    49.  Vision Aid Overseas

    50.   Visionary – linking local sight loss charities

    51.  Wales Council for the Blind

    52. Worshipful Company of Spectacle Makers

  2. What is the role played by these associations in representing VI people?

    Advocacy, campaigning, information gathering.

  3. How are VI people included in associations representing them?
    It varies according to the organisation. They are members, campaigners, supporters, beneficiaries customers.

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