Electoral Commission making it easier for disabled voters to have their say

Media releases

The Electoral Commission is making it easier for disabled New Zealanders to enrol and vote, with the confirmation that telephone dictation voting will be in place for the 2014 general election.

It’s a new addition to the Commission’s longterm commitment to providing information and access to voting services for New Zealanders with a disability.

The new telephone dictation service has been developed with testing and input from the Blind Foundation and Blind Citizens New Zealand.

“We’re pleased to be able to introduce this service for voters who are blind, partially blind, or have a physical disability that prevents them marking their ballot paper without assistance,” says Chief Electoral Officer Robert Peden. “For the first time, we can offer these voters the opportunity to cast a secret ballot, from home, via telephone.”

“It is a great addition to the range of accessible information and resources we create to support the rights of people with disabilities to take part in New Zealand’s general elections.”

The Electoral Commission’s long-term disability strategy is to enable full electoral participation for all New Zealanders, and the new service joins a wide range of accessible resources and information.

“We have again developed video based resources for voters with learning disabilities, which are available either on DVD or online. We have dedicated information in New Zealand Sign Language, and all our video content and advertising is captioned,” says Mr Peden. “We also provide information in Braille, audio and accessible formats through the Blind Foundation.”

“Having a say on election day is the right of all New Zealanders,” says Mr Peden. “Our goal is to make sure that everyone gets the information they need, in the way that best works for them.”

Full information on the new telephone dictation service, and the Commission’s other resources for people with disabilities, is available at www.elections.org.nz or by calling 0800 36 76 56.