Electors with a Disability
It is the right of every elector to cast their vote in an environment which provides for a secret and independent ballot.
However, you may seek assistance at any time. If you do not understand the process, are unable to or have difficulty writing on your ballot paper or need any other assistance you may ask a polling official, carer, friend or relative.
Any elector may attend a polling place deemed to be an accessible location. Eligible electors may visit a drive-in polling place to vote from a car. There are also many assistive devices available at polling places to assist electors with a disability which are explained below.
The Enhancing Access brochure also has useful information for electors with a disability
Wheelchair accessible voting locations
These locations are measured as being accessible for electors who have mobility issues or are in a wheelchair. There is at least one accessible voting location in each electoral district. Some polling places which are not traditionally accessible will be made so by having a temporary ramp installed to enable wheelchair access on the day of the election.
Reserved parking bays that enable easier access for electors with limited mobility are available at most polling places.
Drive in polling places are available on polling day for electors with limited mobility. This service enables electors to vote without having to leave a vehicle.
To use this service, electors should drive their car (or be taken as a passenger) to a drive-in polling place. Signage at the location will help direct you to this service. Polling officials will then assist electors by bringing their ballot papers to the car.
At other standard polling places, polling officials may be requested to take ballot papers to an elector who has difficulty leaving their car.
The Western Australian Electoral Commission has developed a computer-based application to allow electors with vision impairments to cast a vote in secret, known as ‘Vote Assist’, which was trialled at the 2013 State general election.
In previous elections, people with vision impairments have cast their vote with the assistance of a carer, friend, relative or polling place official. With Vote Assist, the elector can listen to the audio, and by following the instructions, using a numeric keypad, will be able to cast their vote for both the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council. The ballot paper will then be printed and the elector can place the ballot paper into the ballot box.
Assistive Devices at Polling Places
The following devices and features are designed to assist electors with a disability at a polling place on polling day.
Polling place staff are aware of the devices which are available to electors in their polling place and will be able to instruct electors on their use or make them available to electors where appropriate.
A number of polling places will have video magnifiers available for use by electors with vision impairments on polling day.
Ballot papers are placed on a reading tray, and the ballot paper image is magnified and displayed on the monitor.
Audio loops have been trialled at the 2013 State election at selected polling places. Only people who have a hearing or listening device hearing aid, can use the audio loop.
Audio loops work to enhance the sound from the person speaking to the person with the hearing aid.
The hearing or listening aid will need to be switched to ‘T’ to use the audio loop. Polling places with audio loops are advertised with the symbol of access for hearing loss.
Other Aids available
A number of other aids will also be available at polling places.
Better Hearing Cards
All poling places are supplied with Better Hearing Counter Cards. These Cards are placed at issuing points. They are a tool used to prompt:
- Electors with a hearing problem to make staff aware of their impairment; and
- Polling staff with advice on how to speak to hearing impaired clients.
The Information Person or Queue Controller is available at polling places to provide information and to offer assistance to electors. This person is often visible by them wearing a shirt with an i on the front.
All polling places have hand-held magnifying sheets, which are available upon request. Magnifying sheets enlarge the text on the ballot papers.
Desktop Voting Screens
Desktop voting screens are available at every polling place. These voting screens are at a height that can be used by a person using a wheelchair. The desktop voting screens also enable electors to vote sitting down if required.
During an election, the Commission aims to visit hospitals and selected institutions such as nursing homes, aged care facilities and retirement homes to provide electors the opportunity to vote without having to leave the premises.
Only electors who are eligible to vote early can use this service. Mobile polling is not intended to be used by staff who could otherwise vote on polling day.
The date and time that mobile polling will take place is advertised at the venue in advance of polling.
Registration as a general early voter
In some circumstances, electors with a disability may be eligible to apply for registration as a general early voter. This means that ballot papers are automatically sent to electors after the election has been announced and ballot papers have been printed.
Information for carers
The Commission is committed to ensuring that carers are provided with every opportunity to vote at election time and also that they are provided with information to ensure those that they are caring for can participate in the electoral process if they are able to do so.
For more information, see the brochure (PDF, 487KB).
Assisting with Voting
Carers, relatives, friends and polling place staff at voting locations are able to accompany and assist voters to complete their ballot papers. Carers or electors with a disability should not hesitate to ask for assistance if required.
If an elector is unable to enter a polling place due to a disability or limited mobility, upon request, a polling official can take the ballot papers to the elector (close to the polling place) for them to complete. The polling official, or another person, can also provide the elector with assistance to complete the ballot papers if required.
Removing electors from electoral roll
An elector may be removed from the electoral roll where a registered medical practitioner has certified in writing that the person is incapable of understanding the nature and significance of enrolment and voting. Contact the Commission for a copy of this form.