People who are blind or visually impaired will be able to vote in the upcoming referendum on the Eighth Amendment without assistance for the first time. The use of new tactile ballot templates at polling stations means thousands of people with limited or no sight will be able to cast their votes in secret in the May referendum. The introduction of these new ballot papers follows the High Court case of Robbie Sinnott who initiated proceedings in 2016 against the Minister for the Environment, Community and Local Government and the State.
Mr Sinnott complained he was being deprived of his right to a secret ballot because he had to ask a polling station presiding officer to complete his ballot paper and ultimately won the case in April 2017.
Mr Justice Tony O’Connor declared at the time that the Minister had a duty to provide arrangements to facilitate voters with visual impairments to mark their ballot papers without assistance.