Cannon welcomes voting plans for visually impaired

An East Galway TD has welcomed arrangements to assist voters who are blind or vision impaired in next week’s European Parliament and Local Elections.

Minister for the Diaspora and International Development Ciaran Cannon has said that voters in the region can avail of Ballot Paper Template (BPT ) or vote with the aid of a companion or the Presiding Officer at a polling station.

“Voters who are blind and vision impaired in the county and region will have the option at the forthcoming European Parliament and Local Elections of voting independently by using a BPT, which will enable them to mark their ballot papers without assistance if they wish to do so’.

“A BPT is a transparent plastic device that is placed on top of a ballot paper and which has a number of tactile features to facilitate the independent marking of a ballot paper by a voter who is blind or vision impaired,” he said.

The BPT works in conjunction with a Freephone – 1800 number that informs the listener of the candidates corresponding to the numbers on the BPT. Based on this interaction between the tactile features of the BPT and the information provided on the Freephone number, the voter can then mark the ballot paper with their voting preferences (1,2,3 etc. )’.

“BPTs will be available at each polling station on polling day. If a voter who is blind or vision impaired indicates to the Presiding Officer that they wish to avail of the BPT option, they will be handed their ballot papers with the appropriate BPT attached.”

Minister Cannon said that the option of voting with the aid of a companion or the Presiding Officer at a polling station will continue to be available for those voters who are blind and vision impaired and who would prefer to continue voting in this way.

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