Blind and partially sighted voters call for changes to voting system

Blind and partially sighted voters are calling for changes to the current voting system, which they say prevents them from voting in private.

If you have a visual impairment this might be how you see a ballot paper.

Campaigners want to modernise the system to make it accessible to everyone.

Credit: ITV Wales

Eighty per cent of people surveyed by Royal National Institute for the Blind who used a tactile voting device said that they voted with another person.

The two voting aids currently available to blind and partially sighted people, a large-print ballot paper or a tactile voting device, a plastic template that fits over the ballot paper, can still mean people need a sighted person to guide them where to put their cross.


people living in Wales with a significant degree of sight loss, according to the RNIB.

Dan Thomas wants the voting system to change. Credit: ITV News

Dan Thomas, 32, from Cardiff, says that existing voting arrangements do not consider the many diverse needs of blind and partially sighted people across Wales.

We want to be able to ask for help on our own terms and this is something where we feel we shouldn't needing to ask for help. We should be able to do this by ourselves independently. The technology is there to enable us to do loads of things like grocery shopping, check our emails and banking online - why isn't it there to enabke us to vote?

Dan Thomas

Mr Thomas said he's asking for the "same rights as everybody else".

Not being able to vote privately is so frustrating. Having voted since 2010 I am basically resigned to it now. I rely on my mother or the kindness of a stranger to exercise my democratic right. I have to tell them who I am voting for and trust that they are putting a cross in the right box. The voting process should be accessible to everybody, from being able to read party manifestos to voting on the day. I am simply asking for the same rights as everybody else.

Dan Thomas

The RNIB said it's "simply not acceptable" for people to not be sure of who they've voted for.

It's simply not acceptable that people can leave their polling station unsure whether they've correctly voted for the candidate of their choice or feel obliged to ask someone else for help.

Ansley Workman, RNIB Cymru director

In a statement, the UK Government said they're working with the RNIB to "develop alternative options."

It is right that provisions should be in place to ensure that everyone who is eligible to vote can do so with confidence.

Cabinet Office spokesperson

Watch Paul Davies' report here: