Blind Citizens Australia has lodged a discrimination complaint with the Australian Human Rights Commission against the NSW Electoral Commission (NSWEC) and NSW Electoral Commissioner to ensure blind and vision impaired people can cast a secret, independent and verifiable vote at the 2023 NSW State Election.
The action follows the decommissioning of the iVote online voting platform and the decision by the NSW Electoral Commissioner not to make an equivalent platform available for the next election.
iVote was introduced by the NSW Government in 2011 and is considered the “gold standard” from an accessibility perspective – to cast a ballot independently, secretly and verifiably.
The loss of iVote would force blind and low-vision people to vote using human-assisted telephone voting.
Sally Aurisch, CEO of Blind Citizens Australia said: “Phone voting means you tell another person your vote, so it isn’t secret, and there’s no way to verify that your ballot has been cast according to your instructions.”
The organisation allege it breaches Australia’s commitment to the United Nations convention on the rights of persons with disabilities, which compels government to ensure people with a disability can fully participate in elections.
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