Queensland Electoral Commission looks to e-voting for blind and vision impaired

Just weeks after the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) outlined its plan to implement Electronically Assisted Voting (EAV) system, the Electoral Commission of Queensland (ECQ) has announced it is to research its own technology to assist the blind and vision impaired vote.

Queensland’s Attorney-General, Cameron Dick, said the ECQ was using $960,000 to fund research into the technology in an effort to “provide a framework” for blind and vision impaired voters to cast a secret vote electronically.

"Under current paper-based systems, many voters require the assistance of another person to help them cast their ballot," Dick said in a statement.

"Braille ballot papers were offered at the last state election in 2009 and that went some way towards addressing this issue, but many blind or vision-impaired voters can't read Braille.

"The commission is now examining potential alternatives using electronic technology similar to that already used by many vision-impaired people on their home computers.”

According to Dick, such a system would benefit an estimated 100,000 blind and vision impaired Queenslanders.

The news follows the VEC’s move to implement an EAV system, initially planned to suit those with vision impairments, the system will now suit those with language, memory, reading or motor difficulties as well.

The VEC outlined the proposed project in March, which will use 102 touchscreen-based kiosks deployed to mobile and stationary early voting centre sites around Victoria, interstate and the United Kingdom during the early voting period from 15 to 26 November this year. E-voting using a telephone will also be available in the centres.

Copyright © 2010 IDG Communications, Inc.

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