Written Answers. - Voting Opportunities for Disabled.

Ivan Yates

Question:

240 Mr. Yates asked the Minister for the Environment if he will outline the total number on the special disabled persons register of electors in each year since the scheme began; if he has satisfied himself that this is a satisfactory level of voting opportunities for the disabled generally; and if he has any proposal to introduce an extension of the scheme to allow postal votes.

The number of persons registered as special voters since the scheme commenced is as follows:

Year of Register

Number on Special Voters List

1987-88

6,930

1988-89

2,432

1989-90

2,895

1990-91

4,254

Under existing law, the following facilities are provided for voting by physically disabled electors: a disabled person who is unable to go in person to vote at his polling station may apply for registration as a special voter and vote at home; a disabled person who has difficulty in gaining access to his own polling station may apply to have his vote transferred to another polling station in the same constituency; and a disabled person who requires assistance in marking his ballot paper may be assisted by a companion or by the presiding officer.
It is considered that these arrangements provide a reasonable opportunity for voting by the different categories of physically disabled and an extension of postal voting is not proposed at present.