Making Extra-Curricular Activities Inclusive

Student Elections and Referendums

“Voting can be done from any and every computer, and we have many accessible computers.”
- Campus Programmer
University, Saskatchewan

Most campuses hold elections for their student representatives, as well as referendums to determine how students feel about a certain issues. It is very important that students with disabilities are given the same opportunity to participate in elections and referendums as the general student body.

Some questions you should consider are:

  • Can students with visual impairments and students with learning disabilities read the ballots or the signs regarding the election/referendum?
  • Will students with hearing impairments have difficulty listening to speeches made by candidates or regarding referendum issues?
  • Can students with mobility impairments access the voting stations?

Keep these issues and others in mind when planning student elections and referendums. When speaking with election candidates, encourage them to use accessible advertising, such as large print posters and an accessible website. If you are planning a debate between the candidates, consider providing sign language interpretation. An accessible website containing each candidate’s platform and contact information may be helpful for students.

The voting itself should also be accessible for all students. Large print and Braille templates can be made to fit over ballots so that visually impaired students can vote confidentially. Some students may require assistance with voting. It is a good idea to have an unbiased individual at the polling station for this purpose. Ensure that both the voting booth and the building(s) that voting takes place in are accessible to wheelchair users.

Practical Tips:

  • Request that candidates advertise using a variety of means that are accessible
  • Provide sign language interpretation for any public debates or speeches