Try out the new tactile voting ballot for people with visual impairments with NCBI

A tactile ballot allows people to use touch to fill out the ballot paper, instead of using sight

Written by Hannah Byrne


The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI) will be introducing and demonstrating the tactile voting ballot to people with visual impairments on Thursday, 6 September 2018 between 5.30pm to 7.30pm at their head offices in Dublin.

During the demonstration, people will be shown the new tactile ballot paper and taught how to use it. If you or someone you know is blind or has a visual impairment, this is an opportunity to try out the template and share your thoughts. 

A visual impairment can be any kind of vision loss, such as weakened eyesight. This includes people who are blind, but not everyone with a visual impairment is completely blind.

This is also a great opportunity for any first-time voters who are blind or have a visual impairment to know what to expect the first time they enter the polling booth in a referendum.

  • Date: Thursday 6 September 2018
  • Time: Drop-in anytime between 5.30pm to 7.30pm
  • Location: NCBI head office, Whitworth Road, Drumcondra, D 9

To register for the event, contact Niamh Connolly on email at [email protected] or phone 01 8307033.

Tactile ballot paper templates

A tactile ballot paper allows people who are blind or have visual impairments to use touch to fill out their ballot paper instead of relying on sight.

The tactile ballot paper template was first used in the referendum on the 8th Amendment in May 2018. The template allowed blind and visually impaired voters to cast their ballot in secret for the first time.

Before the templates were introduced this year, voters with a visual impairment would have required assistance from another person when casting their ballot. 

The templates can only be used in a referendum because of the YES/NO nature of the question. There are currently no templates available for General, Local, European, or Presidential elections.

How do they work?

The templates are stuck to the ballot paper, and they have a range of features to make the process of voting easier, including:

  • Large, clear, raised letters
  • High colour contrast
  • Braille
  • A border around the box to help voters find where to mark the X in their ballot

The templates are available at all polling stations during a referendum. You can ask the presiding officer at the polling station for a template and they will stick it onto the ballot paper for you. They will also be able to answer any questions you have.

Find a tactile voting ballot FAQ from NCBI here.

The National Council for the Blind of Ireland (NCBI)

The NCBI provide support and services to people of all ages who have experienced sight loss or who are having difficulties with their eyesight.

They work in communities around Ireland to help people with visual impairments live independently, learn new skills, deal with employment issues, use technology, and make the most of their useful vision, among other services.

Click here to visit for more information.

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