iVote to enable blind and vision impaired people to cast secret vote online

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Friday, 11 March 2011 17:17pm

The NSW Electoral Commission will use an online and telephone system in the upcoming state election called iVote for people who are blind or vision impaired, are disabled and cannot vote at a polling place without assistance, or who will be out of NSW on polling day.

Passed in Parliament in November 2010, the iVote website has been designed to be accessible to people who are blind and vision impaired, allowing them to independently cast a secret vote. The accessibility features of the iVote website include ARIA landmarks, clearly labelled form elements, easy page navigation and meaningful links.

Voters are eligible to use iVote if:

  • Their vision is so impaired, or they are otherwise so physically incapacitated or illiterate, that they are unable to vote without assistance
  • They are unable to vote without assistance or have difficulty voting at a polling place because they have a disability (as per the Anti-Discrimination Act 1977)
  • Their real place of living is not within 20 kilometres, by the nearest practicable route, of a polling place
  • They will be outside New South Wales during the polling day hours

According to the NSW Electoral Commission, 13,000 blind and 54,000 vision impaired voters in NSW will benefit from iVote, as well as around 33,000 NSW voters with disabilities and 20,000 people in remote areas. A survey by Blind Citizens Australia found that 73% of respondents said they would choose to vote from home if electronic voting was available.

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