Electoral Commission falls at the last accessibility hurdle

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Thursday, 20 June 2013 16:16pm

The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has made online enrolment available for the first time. However, by requiring a driver’s license, the AEC has missed the opportunity to make enrolling to vote and updating enrolment details substantially easier for Australians who are blind or vision impaired.

Voters who do not hold a driver’s license, such as those who are blind, must print, sign and return the form to the AEC. These additional steps will require a person who is blind to seek assistance from a sighted person.

This requirement comes as a disappointment as testing showed that the AEC had taken significant care to ensure that the website is accessible to people with disabilities. Using a screen reader, a blind person can complete each form and access all content, making the printed form the only access barrier.

When Media Access Australia called the AEC, a representative assured us that help would be provided to anyone for whom the printed form presents a problem.

In New South Wales, the electoral commission allows completely online voting. Guest contributor Andrew Devenish-Meares wrote about his experience of being able to use iVote to vote without assistance for the first time.

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