The Pakflattselector

This is the name given to the tactile voting device that blind and partially sighted people have available to them at polling stations. I have received a sample this week and had the chance to read the instructions provided with it which are as follows:


The Selector may have more rows than are required, relative to the number of candidates. Simply shorten the Selector, using a pair of scissors, to match the number of candidates.

The Presiding Officer will remove all the backing tape and attached the Selector to the ballot paper, ensuring that the relevant window aligns with the corresponding marking area.

The voter will already have been informed of the names of the candidates and their numbers as they appear on the ballot paper – e.g. I want to vote for Fred Flintstone who is number 7.

The Selector provides four features that will assist those voters who are totally blind or partially sighted to identify the correct window:

1. Braille

2. Embossed numerals

3. Black numerals on a white background

4. Raised finger tabs

The finger tabs on the right side of the window are hinged to aid lifting. As they will flatten in transit, we recommend that the Presiding Officer should bend them back a little before use

The voter:

· Lifts the selected window;

· Makes the mark;

· Closes the window;

· Separates the Selector from the ballot paper;

· Folds the ballot paper;


· Posts it in the ballot box.

(The Presiding Officer will recover the Selector from the booth)

“on the right of the directions for use, there are two diagrams the 1st shows how you would lift one of the windows, the 2nd shows how you would remove the Selector from the ballot paper.”

To preserve the adhesive on the back of the Selector, it should be returned to the wallet after use.


Having read those instructions, it is even clearer to me now that the presiding officer at the polling station clearly hadn’t. The template wasn’t cut down to size to fit the ballot paper, the flaps on the template weren’t lined up with the marking area on the paper, and the presiding officer denied that the template had an adhesive back until I took it from him and pealed the back off it.

So I’ve replied to the rather dismissive email from the returning officer last week and have even offered to meet with him to discuss it.

I bet he doesn’t take me up on the offer!


About Mel Griffiths

I live and work in Nottingham, England and am blind. This blog is often centred around things that happen to me because of being blind. This is my space to write and sometimes people will disagree with what I write, but its the one place I have in which to be frank and honest. I also like to reflect on the funnier side of life from time to time.
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