[LINK] Fwd: vip-l: The Australian: E-Voting follow-up article
jwhit at melbpc.org.au
Wed Mar 22 07:28:37 EST 2006
>TUESDAY 21 MARCH 2006, Page 37
>IT - Features
>Title: Canberra needs vision to allow secret ballot for the blind
>BLIND and vision-impaired Australians are calling on the federal Government
>to allow them to vote electronically at the next election, saying it is
>their democratic right to cast a secret vote.
>A Senate committee last year recommended that electronic voting be tried in
>booths in all electorates at the next election, due in 2007.
>None of the required legislative changes have been drafted, as a decision on
>the October recommendation has not been made. Groups representing
>vision-impaired people said at this late stage in planning they would be
>happy with a more limited trial in electorates known to have a large number
>of blind voters.
>There are more than 50,000 blind or vision-impaired people living in
>Australia and at present none can vote unassisted (except in the ACT), which
>means some one else knows their political preferences, or can change the
>"Our fear is that if they don't trial electronic voting 2007 we
>won't get anywhere until at least 2010 if not later," Vision Australia
>policy manager Michael Simpson said.
>"It's important because all people who are Australian citizens are required
>by law to vote.
>"Citizens who can't lodge a vote independently don't have same right as
>other citizens. They have to rely on someone else to reflect their position.
>"We believe it's well within the scope of the Government and the Australian
>Electoral Commission to approve and undertake a limited trial at the 2007
>"It doesn't need to be such a comprehensive trial as the committee
>Mr Simpson suggested a trial in selected electorates known to have a large
>number of vision- impaired people - such as Lowe in Sydney, and Kooyong in
>No one was suggesting internet voting as an option, he said.
>"There are two ways of doing this. Either electronic voting with a
>standalone system taking and accumulating the votes, or electronically
>assisted voting that uses adaptive technology and a computer to complete a
>ballot paper that is printed arid lodged as per usual."
>The Electoral Commission was "a little nervous" about electronically
>assisted voting because it would require extra equipment and security
>support, lie said.
>Blind Citizens Australia president Robert Altamore, who has voted
>electronically at the last two ACT government elections, said cost should
>not be an issue.
>"This is about blind or vision- impaired Australians enjoying the same
>democratic right as all other Australians to cast an independent, secret and
>verifiable vote," Mr Altamore said.
>"That's a fundamental right in a democracy."
>Blind Citizens Australia, a government-funded peak advocacy group, has
>suggested that the Government use an electronic system to allow individuals
>to vote electronically, print out their ballot paper and then lodge it in
>the usual way.
>"We would also be happy to assess other options," he said. "Since I was 18 I
>have depended on the assistance of another person to cast my vote, firstly
>my mother and then my wife. Many blind people do not have trusted family
>members they can rely on for help.
>"It's not about the money or the number who would benefit from a change to
>electronic voting, it's about giving all people the same rights in our
>Mr Simpson said some politicians were projecting their nervousness about "a
>potential new world of internet voting" and did not understand that
>electronic voting could still occur in a polling place.
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
jwhit at janwhitaker.com - http://www.janwhitaker.com
Personal stuff: http://member.melbpc.org.au/~jwhit/
'Seed planting is often the most important step. Without the seed, there is
no plant.' - JW, April 2005
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