Posted on: Tuesday 16 May 2023
Kris Wade, Senior Elections Officer; Professor Jon Hunt, Torfaen Access Forum; Katie Jenkins, Engagement and Electoral Participation Officer and Caroline Genever-Jones; Elections and Business Manager.
Torfaen Council's elections team has been working with disabled people's groups to improve review access to local polling stations.
All 70 polling stations in the borough are being reviewed by the team, together with representatives from Torfaen Access Forum, Sight Cymru and the Disability Advice Project wherever possible.
Caroline Genever-Jones, Elections and Business Manager, said: “We are visiting polling stations to see what improvements can be made, both outside and inside.
"We want to make sure everyone’s experience of voting is as easy as possible. People with disabilities face different barriers and we can better understand needs by working with people with lived experience.
“Where possible we will add things like temporary ramps, lighting, signage, visual aids and hearing loops. The feedback will also help us improve staff training.”
Professor John Hunt, Vice Chair at Torfaen Access Forum, said: “It is important that people with disabilities have the same opportunity to vote at their polling station as people without disabilities.
"Even though there is the option of postal voting it is not the same as casting a vote into a ballot box. We have highlighted some difficulties getting in and out of polling stations and suggested some changes inside stations to help people with sensory issues. We hope this will help improve the experience for disabled voters.”
Esther Weller, Awareness Officer at Sight Cymru, added: “Voting can be stressful for people who are blind, have sight loss or a visual impairment.
"Often you need assistance, so it is reassuring to know staff are trained and can offer support such as a tactile voting device, a large print copy of the ballot paper and magnifiers.”
From October this year, voters in Wales will need to show photo ID to vote in general elections, Police and Crime Commissioner election, UK Parliamentary by-elections and Recall petitions. You will not need it for Senedd or local authority elections in Wales.
You can check which photo ID can be used here. If you do not have acceptable photo ID, you can request a free voter ID document known as a Voter Authority Certificate. For more information, visit the Electoral Commission website. You can also call the elections team on 01495 762200.
If you are interested in joining the Torfaen Access Forum, visit the Get Involved area of our website.