New EU FRA report highlights barriers to voting for disabled people in Ireland

29 May 2024

Ahead of the EU elections, this report explores the political participation of people with disabilities. Although some Member States removed restrictions on the right to vote and to stand for elections, barriers still exist. This report is an update of new developments following FRA’s last report published in 2014. It sets out ways forward to ensure people with disabilities have equal opportunities, in line with the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

The Member States have now increasingly adopted disability strategies. However, systematic and meaningful consultation with disabled people’s organisations is still lacking. So is regular training of election authorities and officials on disability discrimination, accessibility and reasonable accommodation. Administrative barriers to obtaining information, registering to vote and obtaining support during elections persist in some Member States.

Key findings include:

  • All Member States and the EU have ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD), although a few Member States have made declarations and reservations, including about Article 12.
  • Several Member States’ laws have removed restrictions on the right to vote and the right to stand for elections based on legal capacity.
  • Significant developments were also noted at the EU and Member State levels in terms of accessibility of the voting process, especially regarding accessibility standards provided by law for polling stations, and guidelines on accessibility of polling stations. However, people with visual, hearing or intellectual disabilities still face considerable barriers.
  • The EU web accessibility directive and the common European standard on web accessibility as well as the audiovisual media services directive have increased access to voting and to information.
  • Sign language interpretation, audio description and subtitling of key public programmes providing instructions for voting and information on candidates is increasingly provided.

Read the full report and country report below:

Political participation of people with disabilities – new developments

 Country research – Political participation 2024 – Ireland