A new freephone service will be available to assist visually impaired voters in next week’s local elections.
This service can be used in conjunction with ballot paper templates, which will be employed for the first time in local elections on Friday 24 May.
The freephone number 1800 400 150 will list candidates in alphabetical order for each electoral area.
Voters with a vision impairment can call the number when they go to cast their ballots.
They are then given an option to select the electoral area in which they are registered to vote, after which a recorded announcement lists each candidate, their political affiliation and their occupation.
The user then uses a ballot template – a transparent plastic device placed on top of the ballot paper – to indicate their voting preferences in order of choice.
Vision-impaired voters can use the freephone facility as often as they wish in the run-up to polling day to familiarise themselves with the arrangements and to firm up their voting intentions.
Voters who are visionally-impaired will also continue to have the option of marking their ballot papers with the assistance of a companion or Presiding Officer, as provided for in the Electoral Acts, at all elections and referendums.