Leading blindness and low vision service provider Vision Australia has continued its push for people who are blind or have low vision to be able to participate in elections privately and securely.
Vision Australia this week provided evidence at the Victorian Electoral Matters Public Hearing and urged decision makers to introduce iVote at all state elections.
iVote enables people who are blind or have low vision to exercise their right to a secret and independent vote. It is currently used in State elections and by-elections in New South Wales.
There are a number of barriers that people who are blind or have low vision have traditionally faced throughout the whole electoral process, including the ability to cast a secret, independent and verifiable vote and accessing relevant information in order to cast an informed vote.
“When people ask me about voting, I always reply that I would choose to ask my husband to assist me to vote, preferring to put my trust in him rather than a system that reveals my voting preferences to others in the community without my consent,” Vision Australia Advocacy and Engagement Graduate Amanda Acutt said.
“In the absence of a trusted family member or friend, I probably would not vote at all and risk a consequent penalty,” Amanda said.
Vision Australia’s representatives believe the Committee was receptive to the feedback provided.
“We’re feeling optimistic that the Committee understands the importance of iVote and is sympathetic to the rights of people who are blind or have low vision,” Kate Begley, Vision Australia Government Relations and Policy Advisor, said.
The representation to the Victorian hearing follows Vision Australia making similar feedback at an inquiry into the 2016 ACT Election.
More information on Vision Australia’s policy on elections and voting can be found here.