Ontario Is Seeking Feedback On Making Voting Accessible

I received an email about something that I think all folks in Ontario should know. Elections Ontario is trying to make elections accessible, and they’re seeking public comment on a draft standard they have written. Here is the message.

Ontario’s Election Act has recently been amended. These amendments are designed to help ensure that all individuals are able to fully exercise their democratic electoral rights, are served in a modern, responsive and efficient manner and that the provincial electoral process is transparent and impartial. The amendments include a strong focus on accessibility related issues.

Elections Ontario has drafted a Site Accessibility Standard that sets out accessibility requirements for the selection of the following locations during provincial elections:

returning offices,
satellite offices,
poll locations, and
advance polls.

Elections Ontario is seeking input on its proposed Site Accessibility Standard for Voting Locations. The Standard has been developed as part of the preparation for the 2011 provincial election.

The Chief Electoral Officer invites comments on the draft Standard. We encourage you to forward this invitation to any other interested individuals or organizations. Thank you in advance for any input that you may provide.

To access the Site Accessibility Standard for Voting Locations, click on one of the following links:

Site Accessibility Standard – English:
www.elections.on.ca/en-ca/DraftSiteAccessibilityStandard

Site Accessibility Standard – French:
www.elections.on.ca/fr-ca/draftsiteaccessibilitystandard

Please send your comments to Elections Ontario by September 1, 2010:

Email: vlinfo@elections.on.ca

Mail:
Voting Location Comments
Elections Ontario
51 Rolark Drive
Toronto, ON
M1R 3B1

Fax: Att: Voting Location Comments, 416-212-3401

Website: http://www.elections.on.ca/en-ca
http://www.elections.on.ca/fr-ca

If you require the document in another accessible format, please email
vlinfo@elections.on.ca.

Ce document est disponible en Français sur demande.”

September 1, eh? Well, get crackin’!

I downloaded and have read the standard, the english version of which can be downloaded here. All it is addressing is the physical accessibility of a polling place. They have not taken into account that the act of voting is inaccessible to blind folks and you need to rely on a lot of assistance to mark your x, and there’s a lot of error which can lead to a spoiled ballot.

I left comments to that effect, and mentioned those cool voting machines as a solution. We shall see.

If you feel the same way I do, or hell, if you see other problems with the standard, you know how to leave comments. And if you need more info on those machines, here’s the last info I had on them.

I’ve wanted to raise this issue for a while, but like so many things, I put it off. Here’s a chance for all of us.

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