We have provided some information for voters with a vision impairment on the key dates to be aware of and how to vote with the Covid-19 restrictions, so that you can take part in the elections near you in May, safely and confidently.
Who can vote?
You must be over 18 to vote in all elections in England. People over the age of 16 are eligible to vote in Scottish parliamentary and Welsh parliamentary elections.
What elections are happening and where?
Depending on where you live in the UK, you may be able to vote in an election in May:
How can I vote?
Register to vote
Before deciding how you will go to the polls on 6 May 2021, you must be registered to vote. You can register online and takes less than five minutes to complete. If you do not have all the required information to hand, you can still submit the application, and your local authority will be in touch to ask for further details. To ensure you are on the electoral register in time for 6 May 2021, you must be registered by 19 April 2021.
The different ways to vote
- Tuesday 6 April 2021 – deadline for postal vote registration in Scotland.
- Monday 19 April 2021 – deadline for voter registration.
- Tuesday 20 April 2021, 5pm – deadline for postal and postal proxy applications in the rest of the UK.
- Tuesday 27 April 2021, 5pm – deadline for new applications for proxy voting.
- Thursday 6 May 2021 – polling day.
- Thursday 6 May 2021, 5pm – deadline for emergency proxy applications.
The impact of Covid-19 on voters with sight loss
Due to Covid-19 social distancing rules, some polling stations may no longer be appropriate due to lack of ventilation or space, or the building being used for another Covid-19 response. Your polling card from your local authority should let you know your station, and you can also check online.
Any materials to support blind or partially sighted electors, such as tactile voting devices, should be cleaned after each use.
The current government guidance acknowledges that disabled voters may attend with a companion. Voters should wear a mask and are encouraged to bring their own pen or pencil.
Test and Trace is not required for polling stations (unless a voter remains in the building for some other purpose).
In previous elections, volunteers from political parties have often given car lifts to polling stations, the government has recommended that this does not take place this year.
Royal Mail has agreed to prioritise the delivery of elections mail including delivery and return of ballot packs in the same way as it does now for coronavirus tests.
Sighted guiding guidance
For people assisting or working at polling stations, take a look at our up-to-date guidance on supporting people with sight loss.
- For voters in Scotland: take a look at this guidance produced by the Electoral Commission, Guide Dogs Scotland, Sight Scotland and RNIB Scotland.
- If you have any questions about voting, you should get in touch with the elections team in your local authority.
Tell us about it
We'd love to hear about your voting experience this year. Please email us to let us know what your plans are or how it went, or tell us on social media, tagging @gdcampaigns and using the hashtag #GuideDogsVotes
Remember, do not take a photo of your ballot paper, whether in the polling station or when completing a postal vote.
- Election guide
- Eye conditions
- Life skills
- Family support
- Education support
- How can technology help me
- Travelling with your assistance dog
- Dog care and welfare
- Sighted guiding instructional videos
- Learning through play
- Sensory equipment grants for children
- Keeping a child with sight loss active and engaged