Accessible polling places
Drive in polling places
Vote Assist for electors with vision impairment
Assistance at polling places
Registering as a general early voter
Information for carers
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.
For more information on what assistance is available, you can also read the Enhancing Access brochure (PDF, 315KB).
Before an election, all potential polling places are assessed to determine if they are accessible for people with mobility issues or who are in a wheelchair. As polling places are located in existing public buildings and locations, accessibility cannot be guaranteed.
The Commission aims to have as many accessible polling places as possible, and will even use temporary ramps to maximise the number of accessible polling places available for electors. Polling places also have reserved parking bays as close to the polling place location as possible for electors with limited mobility.
Accessible polling places are identified in advertising. There is usually a minimum of one accessible polling location per district.
Drive-in polling places are available at selected locations in the metropolitan area 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 all other polling places, polling officials are able to take ballot papers out to an elector who has difficulty leaving their car, if requested.
The Western Australian Electoral Commission has developed a computer-based application to allow electors with vision impairment to cast a vote in secret, known as ‘Vote Assist’, which was trialled at the 2013 State election.
In previous elections, people with vision impairment have cast their vote with the assistance of a carer, friend, relative or polling place official. Vote Assist allows electors with vision impairment to vote completely independently.
To use Vote Assist, the elector listens to audio instructions, and casts their vote for the Legislative Assembly and Legislative Council using a numeric keypad. The ballot papers are then printed and the elector can place the ballot paper into the ballot box.
Hearing and listening aids can be ineffective in environments with a lot of talking or background noise, such as a polling place. Audio loops are used to overcome this issue by enhancing the sound of a person’s voice, such as a polling official. Audio loops were trialled at the 2013 State election at selected polling places for use by electors using a hearing or listening aid.
Polling places with audio loops are advertised with the symbol of access for hearing loss. Electors with a hearing or listening aid can switch to ‘T’ to use the system.
A range of assistance and assistive devices are available at polling places for electors. Polling place staff are aware of all assistive devices available, and can offer assistance to any elector.
Some polling places will have video magnifiers available for use by electors with vision impairment on polling day. Ballot papers are placed on a reading tray, and the ballot paper image is magnified and displayed on the monitor.
Better Hearing Cards
All polling places are supplied with Better Hearing Counter Cards. These cards are placed at issuing points. They are a tool used to help:
- Deaf or hard of hearing electors to prompt staff
- polling staff with advice on how to speak to Deaf or hard of hearing clients.
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.
Easy-grip triangular pencils are available for electors who have difficulty holding or writing with standard pencils.
The Information Person or Queue Controller is available at selected 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.
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.
In some circumstances, electors with 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.
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 disability should not hesitate to ask for assistance if required.
If an elector is unable to enter a polling place due to 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.
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.