Perhaps a Step Closer to a Fully Confidential Vote
In July the Electoral Commission convened a workshop entitled “Promoting Participation in General Elections for Disabled People”. This was attended by representatives from the disability community including Blind Citizens NZ.
The workshop discussed the Electoral Commission’s Voter Participation Strategy which promotes the introduction of Telephone Dictation Voting. Blind Citizens NZ sees this as a positive step forward, but we have requested more information to ascertain how security and confidentiality will be assured.
Telephone Dictation Voting involves a two-step process, using a toll free number. In the first step, the voter must give their name and identification information so they can be marked off the electoral roll. Then the voter would be transferred to a second official who has no knowledge of the person calling. This is where the vote is actually completed.
I recall August 2012 when our Executive Officer and I met with the Minister of Justice, Hon Judith Collins. She made a commitment that the Electoral Commission must develop a plan to lead to a fully confidential vote for blind and vision impaired people. It was agreed phone voting options will be explored in conjunction with e-voting options.
Blind Citizens NZ sees telephone dictation voting as a major step forward, even if technically our vote is still not fully confidential because it is still shared with someone else at the time we vote. We continue to encourage Government to develop an accessible e-voting option for people who would prefer to vote online.