IRV may negatively impact the disabled. An advocacy group for the disabled - "Capability Scotland" - conducted a poll of disabled voters following Scotland's first election using voting machines and STV (a form of instant runoff voting). Capability Scotland has a report on the blundered May 2007 Scottish election and how IRV (or STV) impacted disabled voters. Several changes were implemented all at once, including using STV on one of the 2 ballot papers given to each voter.
A “Polls Apart” survey specifically asked respondents for their views on the 'single transferable vote' system, with 36% stating that this made it more difficult to vote.
The Single Transferable Voting System:
Made it easier to vote 16%
Made no difference 46%
Made it more difficult to vote 36%
Not stated 3%
(from Polls Apart 5 - disabled voters' experiences in the 2007 Scottish election, Capability Scotland, 2007, P14)
In addition, a number of respondents made comments about their experiences of STV. The general feeling is that respondents found STV an additional confusion, as demonstrated by the following typical quotes:
“The whole thing was confusing - too many choices.” “Found the voting system hard.” “Confusing” “Number system for council elections was very complicated for disabled people unable to use their hands properly” “More laborious.” “I wasn't told I was only needed to number as many as I wished and could leave some blank.” “It took a few times reading it through before you could understand what to do.”