Have your say at local elections

In the local elections this May, thousands of council seats are up for election across England. Ensure you have your say.

Getting involved in local elections gives us a voice in decisions which directly impact on policies that affect blind and partially sighted people. This includes how accessible and inclusive our built environment, transport, health and wider services are.

In addition to voting, you can also raise awareness amongst those running for election on issues that matter to blind and partially sighted people in your area. This is because politicians want your support and vote.

The following information helps ensure that you can exercise your right to vote independently and have your voice heard. This information also encourages you to connect with people running for election in your area and ask them to help make a difference.

Ensure your voice is heard

To find out if there are elections in you area, you can visit the Electoral Commission website below. Enter your postcode to find contact details for the electoral services team at your local council and polling station details.

Find out more

Voting changes

Following the enactment of the Elections Act 2022, voters will now need to present photo identification at polling stations to participate in elections. This regulation applies to local, mayoral, and Police and Crime Commissioner elections in England this year.

For individuals without photo ID, there are currently two available options. You can either request a complimentary voter ID certificate, referred to as the Voter Authority Certificate, or opt for a postal vote where photo ID is not obligatory. The deadline to apply for a Voter Authority Certificate for the May local elections in England was 5pm on Wednesday 24 April.

You can obtain the Voter Authority Certificate at any time, and it is not limited to a specific election. Moreover, it does not have an expiration date.

Find out what forms of ID are approved for use at polling stations via the link below.

Find out what ID is acceptable

In the booth

All polling stations must have the necessary support to assist blind and partially sighted voters. This includes:

  • a tactile voting device.
  • a large print copy of the ballot paper for reference.
  • magnifiers
  • additional lighting.
  • ensure polling station staff are available to guide you to the voting booth and assist you in marking your vote if needed.

You can also request a reasonable adjustment by writing to your local Returning Officer or local electoral services.

Write to your councillor

To help you raise these issues at election time, we have created a sample email for you to use.

Download it, or copy and paste it into the body of an email, adding your own story and requests.

The more personal your message is, the more likely it is that the politicians will listen to you.

Download our template letter to council candidates

Start a petition

If there is a particular issue in your area you want your local representatives to tackle, then you could consider starting a petition. Petitions enable communities to unite around important issues, amplify their voices, and influence candidates’ agendas.

Issues can be as small as clearing your road of overhanging branches, or as big as committing your council to the social model of disability. 

Try collecting signatures by standing in a busy area or near the issue you want to change, visiting door-to-door, or online via websites like Change.org or 38 Degrees.

Your council

If you’re concerned that your council may not be enabling you to vote independently and in secret as best they can, Thomas Pocklington Trust (TPT) has produced a template letter to send to your Returning Officer. The letter includes links to advice on accessible voting aimed at election professionals, which TPT has also produced.

You can download the letter by clicking the link below.

Download our letter to Returning Officers

You can find our who your local Returning Officer by clicking the link below.

Find your local Returning Officer


About Sight Loss Councils

Sight Loss Councils are led by blind and partially sighted members and funded by Thomas Pocklington Trust. We advocate the needs of visually impaired people in our communities and work to improve access to goods and services at a local and national level.

Learn more about our work

Stay in the know

Do you want to get involved in our national campaigns? Stay up to date with campaigns news from Sight Loss Councils and Thomas Pocklington Trust by signing up to our mailing list.

Join our mailing list

Publication date: 24 April 2024

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