Frequently Asked Questions
Accessibility and Accommodation
Q. Is there help at my poll for physically disabled and visually impaired voters?
A. Elections NB offers many accommodations to improve accessibility for New Brunswick electors.
At all returning offices, we use a tabulation machine that allows electors to cast ballots using an audio session where the candidate names are read to the elector using headphones.
Attached to this machine is a handheld Braille controller which is used to make the desired selections. This method is ideal for electors that are visually impaired, have low vision, or have difficulty reading but can be used by any elector.
In addition, the machine can be controlled with a sip and puff device, ideal for electors that already use a sip and puff device on a regular basis. The machine can also be controlled by paddles for individuals with limited mobility, which are activated by different parts of the body, such as hands, arms, legs, or feet.
Ballots are printed using large white font on a black background. This makes the task of reading the candidates’ names much easier.
Magnifying glasses at all returning offices and polling stations. We also encourage all individuals who have their own magnifying glasses to bring them with them when they come to vote.
Pocket Talkers (a voice amplification system) are available only at the returning offices. If you feel that you would benefit from using this device while voting, one of our Special Voting Officers will be happy to provide one to you.
If you prefer, you can vote with the assistance of a friend or an election official. Your friend can read the ballot to you and can even mark the ballot based on your selection of candidate. Friends that are not election officials can only assist one person to vote in an election.
Q. Can citizens with physical or mental disabilities vote?
A. Yes, all eligible electors may vote if they meet the qualifications of an elector.
A physical disability never affects a person's qualification to vote, and an elector who is unable to mark their ballot without assistance may be assisted by the Special Voting Officers, or a friend of the elector. A mental disability never affects a person’s qualification to vote. There is no legal basis for anyone, including a family member or staff member of a treatment centre, to deny someone the opportunity to vote because of some perceived mental disability in that person.
If a person cannot read or write, or needs help to physically mark the ballot, they can vote with the assistance of a friend, family member or a Ballot Issuing Officer or Special Voting Officer, as long as the voter is able to clearly instruct the person assisting them as to who they wish to vote for. A friend or family member may assist only one person during the election.
Q. Does Elections New Brunswick have Braille Ballots?
A. Braille facsimiles of ballots are only used in Provincial elections (for an MLA). Because of the complex municipal ballot, they will not work in municipal elections. The audio vote solution at the Returning Offices, has Braille on the device for selecting the choice of candidates.
Q. How can I vote if I live in a home for the elderly or in a chronic care facility? (These are electors who reside permanently in the institution. These electors do not have another place of ordinary residence.)
A. Contact the Returning Office to determine if your facility is going to have an additional poll come to the building on or before Election Day and go from bed to bed.
If not, alternate arrangements may be made by the Returning Office to provide Special Ballots either on a scheduled basis during the election for the facility, or on an individual basis by appointment.
Q. Is my polling station accessible to physically disabled voters?
Is my polling location wheelchair accessible?
A. All advance polls and returning offices are accessible. Due to the number of locations needed, some ordinary polls are not. Your Voter Information card will indicate if the location has level access. You can also check with Returning Officer about specific polling stations. If you require level access and your ordinary poll does not have it, you can request to vote using Curbside Voting. In addition, you may also vote at the advance polls, at the Returning Office, or by special ballot.
Q. What if a voter cannot read or speak in one of the official languages?
A. An interpreter can aid a voter who does not speak English or French, but it is up to the voter to bring an interpreter with them.
Q. What are special ballots, and who can use them to vote?
I am, or know, a person who is ill at home and cannot go to the polls on polling day: how can I or my friend vote?
A. Special Ballots are a form of ballot used to allow voting by people who are outside of their own municipality, school district, or health region or who otherwise cannot or do not want to go to the polls. This includes home-bound voters, those in hospital, or those travelling, working or studying away from their ordinary residence during an election. Any returning office can issue a special ballot for a voter from any electoral region in the province.
For home-bound or hospitalized voters who wish to vote using a special ballot, election officials from the local returning office will take a ballot and ballot box to the voter to allow the person to vote independently. A care-giver spouse of a home-bound voter may vote at the same time, if they wish. Simply call the returning office to make arrangements to vote.
Voters travelling, working or studying in the province away from their ordinary residence during an election may vote at any returning office for candidates for their home municipality, school district, or health region. Those voters travelling, working or studying out of the province must contact their home returning office, which will send a ballot to them. In this situation, call or e-mail as soon as possible, to ensure your ballot can be returned on time.
Q. What if a voter requires a sign-language interpreter?
A. Visual language interpreters are available by appointment for electors who communicate using a visual language such as ASL (American Sign Language) or LSQ (Langue des signes Québécoise). You must arrange for an interpreter prior to visiting a Returning Office or a polling station to vote. Please call Elections NB at 1-888-858-8683 for information on how to book an interpreter.
Q. What is an Additional Poll?
A. Additional polls are held mostly at nursing homes, special care homes, and extended care units of some hospitals. It is a poll which moves from bed to bed on election day to take the votes of eligible voters who are unable to easily vote.