The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) announced on Tuesday that telephone voting is now available for those blind and low vision eligible voters who are willing to cast their secret votes for the upcoming Australian Election 2013.
Those who are willing to use the new voting service can register through calling 1800 913 993. Upon calling they will be asked to give a six-digit PIN for registration. The AEC will then send a confirmation of the registration through via post, email, SMS or a phone call. The registration will be confirmed through an eight-digit registration number.
According to AEC, there had been 700 voters who were already registered for the service and since early voting started in Tuesday, Aug 20, 2013, there were already votes being casted.
"This is a first for a federal election and means voters with low vision or who are blind can cast their vote by telephone from home, or from any location without the need to attend AEC office," Electoral Commissioner ED Killesteyn said in an official statement released by the AEC.
"Blind or low vision voters 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, however the new telephone voting service offers a further convenient choice."
"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 between 12 pm (AEST) on polling day, Saturday, 7 September."
"Once registered, you can then vote any time between 8:30am and 5:30pm (AEST) from now through to Friday 6 September, and on polling day on 7 September from 8:00am to 6:00pm (AEST)," according to the statement.
The voting service for the blind and low vision was warmly accepted by Vision Australia as expressed by Vision Australia's General manager for Accessible Information Solutions, Michael Simpson.
"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. This telephone voting service is an encouraging step forward," Mr Simpson said.
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