Electronic voting to help people with vision impairments

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Friday, 14 September 2007

For the first time in Australian history, people who are blind or have low vision will be able to cast an independent and secret vote in this year's Federal election.

On 13 September, clients and staff who are blind or have low vision from our Kooyong centre attended a special demonstration of the brand new electronic voting technology ahead of the election.

The electronic voting kiosks consist of a computer with a 21-inch screen, telephone-style key pad and headphones, and will give people who are blind or have low vision the ability to cast a secret vote that they can be sure is consistent with their preferences.

Once the voter has made their selections, the voter's preferences will be printed on a small laser printer in their booth. The preferences are contained within a two-dimensional barcode to preserve the secrecy of the vote in the polling place. These barcodes will be decoded later so the votes can be counted along with all other votes. At no time will the voter's preferences be able to be associated with that voter.

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