Accessible information about the 2023 Referendum
The Referendum will be held on Saturday 14 October.
In relation to accessible information, the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) has published a range of materials. In particular it should be noted:
• The AEC has published an official referendum booklet on the proposed change and the cases for Yes and No which was agreed to by a Parliamentary Committee on the conduct of the referendum.
• This is publicly available now to people living with low vision or blindness via the AEC website in large print, e-text and audio files. These formats, as well as Braille, can also be requested by calling the AEC.
• This information can be found at Referendum 2023 (aec.gov.au) or by calling the AEC on 13 23 26.
In relation to accessible voting, the AEC has advised:
• If a person who lives with low vision or blindness wishes to vote at a polling place, they may ask for help to complete their ballot paper. This can be from a family member, friend, support worker, scrutineer, campaign worker or polling official.
• Alternatively, human-assisted telephone voting is available for those who are unable to attend a polling place. This will be a two-step process whereby the elector does not give their name but uses their telephone voting registration number and chosen PIN. The system then automatically marks them off the electoral roll, allowing them to vote anonymously.
• The AEC will also offer text-to-speech pens and hearing loops in at least one polling place in every electoral division nationally, which may be of use to some people who live with low vision or blindness.
We are disappointed the AEC has confirmed Braille ballots will not be offered.
Guide Dogs Australia continues to work in partnership with Blind Citizens Australia to advocate on ensuring all Electoral Commissions provide accessible information and voting options to people with low vision or blindness.