Polling place accessibility and the NSW state election

This article originally appeared on Hoyden About Town.

I get the impression that the NSW election sees a slight improvement over the Federal election in polling place accessibility information.

Here’s some sample information provided from my electorate:

A— Public School: “Fully Wheelchair Accessible”
B— Public School: “Assisted Access: Building has lips and/or steps, No designated disabled parking spot, No disabled toilet, Path of travel from car park may be difficult”
C— Public School: “Assisted Access: No designated disabled parking spot, No disabled toilet”

You can find out this for any electorate by going to Polling Places and finding the electorate. Note that information comes up in a pop-up page, and it is embedded in a Google Map by default, unless you select the link that reads “Text” next to the name of the electorate.

In addition to wheelchair information the main accessibility page has some information for provisions for vision impaired people:

Luminance contrast design on election furniture

Certain cardboard furniture, such as the ballot box, used at State and Local Government elections have luminous contrast markings to assist electors with depth perception.

Hand held magnifiers and user friendly pencils

All polling places and pre-poll voting centres have hand held magnifiers and maxi pencils and voting instructions in large print, available to assist electors who may have difficulty reading the ballot paper or marking the squares. If you require either of these items, please ask an election offical [sic].

Information off the top of my head that isn’t provided:

  • information about provision of seats in waiting/queuing areas
  • information about distances from parking or entrances to the voting area
  • information about non-wheelchair mobility aids

In my state electorate, I count 26 polling places (including Sydney Town Hall, which is located away from my electorate and is a polling place for every electorate in the state). Of these 7 are listed as fully wheelchair accessible (including Town Hall), and another 10 as assisted access. My nearest polling place is 200m away, assisted access 500m away and fully wheelchair accessible about 1km away, although as I live very close to the local business district we have a high density of nearby polling places.

How does your electorate look? How many fully wheelchair accessible polling places, how many assisted access, and how close are they to you? What information is missing from the descriptions?

For more on polling accessibility check: