In a first for a Federal election, voters who are blind or have low vision can cast their vote in secrecy via a telephone voting service from home or any location.
Vision Australia has welcomed the initiative. “Australians who are blind or have low vision, like me, have been waiting a long time to realise their right to vote without needing to rely on family or friends to cast their ballot,” said Michael Simpson, Vision Australia’s General Manager for Accessible Information Solutions.
“This telephone voting service is an encouraging step forward.”
Eligible voters who are blind or have low vision can register for the service by calling 1800 913 993. They will be asked to select a six-digit PIN and the AEC will confirm their registration and provide the voter with an eight-digit registration number, either via email, SMS or a phone call.
“To vote (using the phone service) registered voters call (AUS) 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,” said Electoral Commissioner Ed Killesteyn.
“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.
People can register to use the blind or low vision telephone voting service anytime before 12pm (AEST) on polling day, Saturday 7 September.
They can vote any time between 8:30am and 5:30pm (AEST) up until Friday 6 September, and on polling day on 7 September from 8:00am to 6:00pm (AEST).
People with vision loss or who are blind can still vote with assistance at one of the several thousand polling stations that will operate throughout Australia on election day or at one of the many early voting centres.