Making Voting Accessible to All

Whether it’s a municipal, provincial/territorial or federal election, all eligible voters in Canada must have the opportunity to vote. There are a number of measures in place to make sure that voters who have a disability are afforded that opportunity.

Some of those measures apply long before election day, when poll locations are selected. Poll stations must meet certain requirements, including making sure there are no barriers that obstruct voters with a visual impairment. There must also be access for voters with mobility needs—for example, inclines must be no more than 4.8 degrees, and doorways must be no less than 32 inches wide.

Getting to a polling station can also be a concern for those who are unable to drive, although political parties often have volunteers who offer to drive people there. These offers are usually politically motivated, though of course there is no obligation to support the party of the volunteer driver.

Once at the polling station, there are a number of tools available to help voters who have a disability. These are the accommodations that were available for the 2015 federal election: a magnifying glass with a light, a voting screen that lets in more light, sign language interpretation (must be arranged ahead of time), a braille list of candidates, assistance in marking a ballot, tactile and braille voting template, and a large-print list of candidates.

To read more about making voting accessible, click here. To learn more about accessible voting through Elections Canada, click here