Postal Survey on Marriage Equality

Following an unsuccessful attempt to gain information from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, BCA has today directed an open letter to Senator Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance, and several other Australian Government Ministers.

This letter, which you can download here, seeks to clarify arrangements regarding the participation of people who are blind or vision impaired in the forthcoming postal survey, regarding changes to the Marriage Law. 

We will keep you advised of the outcomes of this enquiry. 

As many will know, this matter is being managed as a confidential survey of opinion, to be undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). In general, survey forms will be distributed by post to all those on the Australian Electoral Roll.   

It is worth noting that the ABS Website includes the following statement about inclusion in the survey process:

“Special Strategies to support participation
Arrangements will be put in place to allow eli
gible Australians living in remote areas, those living overseas, those located in the Antarctic, Government personnel on overseas deployment, those unable to self-complete a paper form, or those without access to mail to have an opportunity to participate in the survey.
Further details of these processes will be released on the ABS website (www.abs.gov.au
) as soon as they are finalised.”

I draw your attention to the phrase “those unable to self-complete a paper form” which hopefully includes people who are blind or vision impaired. 

While we are confident that the ABS is aware of our needs, the level of their response may depend on demonstrated demand. For this reason it will help the outcome if BCA members and others with an interest in this matter make enquiries about access to the ABS “Australian Marriage Law Postal Survey Information Line” on 1800 572 113. 

Please note, as this is an “open letter” please feel free to distribute it to your networks. 

Telephone voting for the 2016 federal election

Voters who are blind or have low vision will be able to cast a vote in secret by telephone from any location, including their own homes.

Register
Voters must first register to cast their vote by telephone. Registration will be available from Monday 13 June 2016. When a voter calls to register, they will be asked questions to enable a check of the electoral roll, and will also asked to choose a PIN. Once registered, they will be sent a registration number by email, SMS, postal mail, or through a phone call.

Call to vote
Telephone voting will be available from Tuesday 14 June 2016. When voting, electors will not need to give their name. Their registration number and PIN will be used to mark their name off the electoral roll while protecting their privacy. It is important that voters do not forget their registration details.

Vote
A call centre voting assistant will record the voter’s preferences on the ballot papers. The vote will be secret and a second voting assistant will ensure that the vote is recorded according to the voter’s intention.

The vote remains secret because the call centre voting assistants will not know the voter’s name and address. Once the vote is complete, the voting assistant will place the ballot papers into a secure ballot box.

Information for electors with disability
Updated: 9 May 2016

A range of information and services is available to help electors with disability to cast their vote for the 2016 federal election.

Access for people with disability
Polling places with disabled access will be shown on the website when available. The polling places identify the level of accessibility (full, assisted or none).

You can ask someone to help you vote. Polling place staff are trained to assist you, or you can nominate any person (except a candidate) to assist. This person could be a friend, relative or a party worker. If voters do not nominate someone, then the polling official in charge will provide assistance.

The assistant reads the contents of the ballot paper and then completes the ballot paper according to the voter’s preferences.

There are also special arrangements at polling places for people who cannot get out of their car. If the polling official in charge is satisfied that you cannot enter the polling place, someone will bring the ballot papers to you.

Telephone voting
Voters who are blind or have low vision will be able to cast a vote in secret by telephone from any location, including their own homes.

Telephone voting

Apply for a postal vote

An assistant may complete the ballot papers and envelope, but the voter must sign the envelope or make a mark as a signature.

Your official guide to the 2016 federal election
Your official guide to the 2016 federal election is not yet available.

A printed version of the official guide will be delivered to every household in Australia. It provides information on when and where to vote, assistance available at polling places and how to vote correctly. The official guide will be available in accessible formats including e-text, large print and audio MP3. Electors will also be able to request to have a braille, DAISY or audio CD sent to them.

Candidate lists
The list of candidates for the House of Representatives and Senate is not yet available.

Lists of candidates for the House of Representatives (in each division) and the Senate (in each state and territory) will be available by request in e-text, large print PDFs, MP3 or braille formats.

Publications:

Easy English Guides

A guide to enrolling and voting

Voting is different this federal election

Contacts
For more information contact 13 26 26. If you are deaf or have a hearing or speech impairment, contact us through the National Relay Service (NRS):

TTY users phone 133 677 then ask for 13 23 26
Speak and Listen users phone 1300 555 727 then ask for 13 23 26
Internet relay users connect to the NRS then ask for 13 23 26

AEC media release – North Sydney voters who are blind or have low vision

North Sydney voters who are blind or have low vision can now register for a telephone vote With early voting now underway, voters who are blind or have low vision can register to access a telephone voting service for the 2015 North Sydney by-election.

Australian Electoral Officer for New South Wales, Mr Doug Orr said eligible voters who are blind or have low vision can register for the service anytime between now and 12 midday on by-election day, Saturday 5 December.

“North Sydney voters who are blind or have low vision can call 1800 913 993 to register for a telephone vote,” Mr Orr said. Once registered, voters will be able to cast their telephone vote between 9am and 5pm on weekdays from now to Friday 4 December and on by-election day, Saturday 5 December, from 8am to 6pm.

Blind or low vision voters don’t need to give their name when they vote using the telephone voting service. Their registration number and pin will be used to mark their name off the electoral roll, ensuring the voter’s identity remains secret.

“North Sydney voters who are blind or have low vision can have confidence they are casting their vote in secret,” Mr Orr said. Blind or low vision voters can still vote with assistance at any polling place on by-election day or, if entitled at one of the early voting centres before by-election day.

More than 2,800 Australians who are blind or have low vision cast a vote via telephone at the 2013 federal election.

Voter services information is available at www.aec.gov.au/north-sydney