NSW set for web accessible 2015 election

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Wednesday, 18 March 2015 17:19pm

The forthcoming NSW election is looking to be one of Australia’s more accessible state elections thanks to the remote electronic voting system, iVote.

iVote logo

The iVote system was introduced for the NSW State General Election in March 2011, initially to enable people who are blind or have low vision to cast an independent vote.

Since 2011, the rules around the use of iVote have been expanded to help other groups who have trouble voting, including those with reading difficulties, other disabilities, or who live more than 20km from a polling place. People who will be interstate or overseas on polling day are also allowed to use the system.

The iVote system, which is compliant to WCAG 2.0 Level AA, allows voters to cast their ballot online, or to vote on the phone using a telephone keypad or via an operator through a call centre.

According to the NSW Electoral Commission, there are about 13,000 NSW voters who are blind, while about 54,000 have low vision. There are also about 330,000 NSW voters with other disabilities.

A review of the iVote system following its introduction in 2011 found that a significant proportion of blind or vision impaired respondents and respondents with a disability (26 per cent and 18 per cent respectively) identified the main benefit of the new system as helping them gain new levels of independence and empowerment.

The review also found that a significant number of non-English speaking respondents (17 per cent) also found that the iVote system enabled them to vote independently.

More information on how to register for iVote is available online.

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