The Parliament of the United Kingdom is currently considering a bill that will have a significant impact on the support offered to blind and partially sighted voters at polling stations in the UK.
The Elections Bill will do away with the provision of a minimum standard of equipment for blind and partially sighted people at polling stations. Instead, it will be up to the individuals who run the polling stations to decide what equipment is reasonable to provide.
Furthermore, unlike current legislation which stipulates equipment must be provided to enable an independent vote, the new bill is proposing that equipment only needs to be provided to “make voting easier”. A phrase which is open to interpretation, and which could lead to provisions falling well short of the current levels.
RNIB are concerned that if this bill passes in its current form it will lead to a post code lottery of provision at polling stations and a deterioration in the voting experience of blind and partially sighted people across the UK.
To lobby the UK Government RNIB have launched a petition in support of their challenge to the Elections Bill. If you’d like to show your support, you can find the petition here.
Amy Craddock, RNIB