Disabled man 'unable to vote' after finding he could not get his wheelchair into polling station (From Surrey Comet)
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Disabled man 'unable to vote' after finding he could not get his wheelchair into polling station
A disability campaigner missed out on voting in the local elections after finding his polling station was not wheelchair accessible.
Adam Lotun said he felt “disempowered, disenchanted and disaffected” after leaving the Sunray community centre in Knollmead, Tolworth, without having ticked his ballot paper.
The 51-year-old, a disability risk management consultant and former parliamentary candidate, said: “I went along to my station, went up the ramp and found I couldn’t get in because the thresholds on both the outer and inner doors were not accessible, and went down to a lower level.
"Nobody had ramps to get over this obstruction, and I left unable to vote.
“It wasn’t an issue for me last time because I didn’t need a wheelchair.
“An officer told me that they had mentioned this previously to the returning officer, so the returning officer has known about this for at least four years.
“At about quarter to six I got an email from the returning officer himself.
“He suggested I go back and get the presiding officer to assist me, otherwise I would not be able to exercise my democratic rights on the day.
“It left me feeling disempowered, disenchanted and disaffected. I felt excluded, like a second class citizen.”
A council spokesman said: "We are very sorry that the gentleman could not get his wheelchair into the polling station. We were in touch with him to discuss his complaint on the day.
“We take our responsibilities for access for disabled people very seriously, and try to ensure that polling stations are accessible to all voters.
"The presiding officer at the polling station offered assistance to the gentleman."
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