Barriers at the Ballot Box: The (In)accessibility of UK Polling Stations

Ben Stanford

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The United Kingdom has a long and complex history in matters of electoral law and voting rights. Much of the current electoral legal framework and the voting process itself remains somewhat antiquated when compared with other liberal democracies. The infrastructure and the procedures used to facilitate voting in polling stations are, to some extent, no exception. In the present case, the failure to provide an adequate device to assist blind and partially sighted voters in polling stations to allow them to vote without assistance from a polling station worker or a companion and in secret was challenged. Although the High Court ruled for the claimant, the dispute should be considered in the broader context of polling station accessibility. Unfortunately, the barriers faced by some voters with disabilities remains deeply problematic in the face of the UK’s human rights obligations and the most basic duty of any democracy to facilitate voting and participation in the electoral process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)87-92
Number of pages6
JournalCoventry Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 8 Jul 2019

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  • Ballot papers
  • Disability discrimination
  • Reasonable adjustments
  • Visual impairment
  • Visually impaired persons
  • Voting in person


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