Phone voting system credited with boosting blind participation

Greg Madson has welcomed a new telephone voting system for the Federal Election. d406548
Greg Madson has welcomed a new telephone voting system for the Federal Election. d406548

The Nedlands resident, who has been blind since the age of 25, said he took advantage of early voting by telephoning his vote from home last week.

‘It felt really empowering to exercise that basic democratic human right,’ he said.

‘Last State election, I had to take time off work to attend the only special polling booth at the Association for the Blind in Victoria Park.

‘Prior to that, I didn’t vote at all ” I would get a fine every year. I would simply send the letter back to (WA Electoral Commissioner) Warren Gately to remind him voting was not accessible for me because having someone assisting in the polling booth did not feel private.’

Mr Madson said the new system was a huge step towards accessible living for all blind and vision-impaired Australians.

‘Being part of the election along with all other Australians is a real milestone,’ Mr Madson said.

National electoral commissioner Ed Killesteyn said the new telephone voting service offered a more convenient choice.

‘To vote, registered voters call 1800 913 993 and use their registration number and their PIN to be marked off the electoral roll ” they will not need to give their name,’ Mr Killesteyn said.

‘While AEC officers will record the voter’s preferences on the ballot papers, the PIN and registration number system ensures the voter’s identity remains secret.’