JAMES BARRYDublin City Returning OfficerPresentation to NDA Conference Participation in Public and Political Life by People with Disabilities VOTING FOR ALL
JAMES BARRY – DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER VOTING IN THE DUBLIN AREA The Returning Officer is responsible for the conduct of an Election or Referendum in each Constituency. Dublin and Cork: • City or County Sheriff In the rest of the country: • County Registrar All Returning Officers report to the National Returning Officer at the Department of the Environment, Community and Local Government.
JAMES BARRY – DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER VOTING IN THE DUBLIN AREA Dublin City Returning Officer is responsible for 6 Dublin City Constituencies- • Dublin South East • Dublin South Central • Dublin Central • Dublin North West • Dublin North East • Dublin North Central
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER ACCESS TO POLLING STATIONS • Accessible buildings, whenever possible • Ground floor in all cases • Accessibility Checklists are completed for Polling Stations to assess accessibility for all Voters • Temporary ramps are only installed if necessary • Returning Officer gives public notice of inaccessible Polling Stations - 8 days prior to Polling Day
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER VOTING AT ALTERNATIVE POLLING STATION In the very few instances where a Voter cannot gain access to a Polling Station: • Voter applies for authorisation to vote at another accessible Polling Station • Authorisation is issued (Alternative Station is within 2.4km) • Authorisation is presented by Voter with evidence of identity Once an alternative Polling Station has been assigned: • Voter may not vote at their local station • Dublin City – 135 Polling Places • 130 are accessible to All Voters ( 96% )
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER ACCESS WITHIN POLLING STATIONS Each Polling station is provided with the following: • Large print copy of the ballot paper • An Accessible booth • A seat for Voters to use – if required • Standard booths for standing Voters and those with walking aides
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER ASSISTANCE WITH VOTING The law is specific about who may be assisted in voting. A Voter may be assisted to vote in two ways: Companion Voting: In the case of: • visual impairment • physical disability • literacy difficulty A Voter may receive assistance to vote from a companion.
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER ASSISTANCE WITH VOTING Assistance by Presiding Officer: This facility can be availed of in the case of: - visual impairment - physical disability - literacy difficulty (where a Voter does not wish to be assisted by a companion) • Poll staff may not take written instructions from a Voter. • In order to protect Voters’ dignity, Poll Staff are trained to assist Voters only if assistance is required by Voter - if Staff member is specifically asked by the Voter
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER VOTING BY POST Postal Voting: • A Voter may apply to vote by postin the case of: - physical disability or - illness • The Voter applies for inclusion in the postal voters list • Postal voters list is compiled annually as part of the Register of Electors • To apply contact your Local Council - Franchise Department • For Dublin City Council - www.dublincity.ie
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER SPECIAL VOTING AT HOSPITALS, NURSING HOMES AND CARE HOMES • A Voter residing in a hospital, nursing home or similar institution who has: - Physical disability - Illness may apply to vote at the premises. • A Voter applies for inclusion in the Special Voters list, drawn up annually as part of the Register of Electors • To apply contact your Local Council - Franchise Department • For Dublin City Council - www.dublincity.ie
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER SUPPLEMENTARY POSTAL & SPECIAL VOTERS LISTS Voters with: A physical illness or disability Eligible for the Postal or Special Voters list but not included on these lists may apply for entry in the supplement to these lists which are published prior to each election and referendum.
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER INFORMATION FOR VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES • Department of Environment, Community and Local Government information leaflet • Print and digital media • Local Retuning Officer websites • In Dublin City information is available at http://www.dublincityreturningofficer.com
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER ELECTORAL LAW • Part II of and the Second Schedule to the Electoral Act 1992 • Electoral (Amendment) Act 1996 • Section 76 of the Electoral Act 1997 • Electoral (Amendment) Act 2001 • Electoral (Amendment) Act 2006 • Article 29 of UN Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities.
JAMES BARRY - DUBLIN CITY RETURNING OFFICER FUTURE CONSIDERATIONS • Voters with Intellectual Disabilities In advance of next Poll - in parallel with Poll Staff training – I propose an Information Session for Voters with Intellectual Disabilities - Accessibility for Voters + Guardians + Carers • The Returning Officer continues to work closely with the Department of Environment, Community and Local Government to ensure Access to All for in the Voting process • We welcome further liaison with the NDA