Whether you’ve experienced issues voting remotely or in physically accessing polling stations (such as available disability parking, building access), availability of accessible polling booths for wheelchair users and those requiring other assistance (eg. Braille, Easy English, sensory requirements), PDA wants to hear from you.
With your help we hope to improve accessibility in Australian elections, so that people with disabilities are given the opportunity to participate in the same way as everyone else.
In a democratic society, voting is something that is generally taken for granted. However, for an increasing number of people with physical disabilities, local accessibility to vote is not guaranteed.
Following the announcement of an election, a list of polling places are made available by the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC). Within this list, each polling place is given a rating around accessibility to assist people with disabilities or mobility restrictions (i.e. wheelchair accessible, assisted wheelchair access, or not wheelchair accessible).
However, previously available statistics taken from this list showed that of the expected polling places outlined on the AEC website, as few as 3% of polling places will be fully accessible at the next Federal election.
These grossly inadequate numbers contravene the Commonwealth Electoral Act 1918 which states that electors are entitled to vote on election day at any polling place in their electorate.
So why should this inexcusably inadequate availability of accessible polling booths be tolerated?
Why should people with mobility disabilities be given no option but to travel (often long distances) outside of their local areas to vote or be compelled to vote outside polling stations or lodge their votes via post or telephone?
All Australians should be given the opportunity to engage in our democratic processes equally and with fair consideration.
We really want to hear about your personal experiences in voting at Australian elections (whether local, state or Federal) so that we can have a better understanding as to whether or not enough is being done to make our elections accessible.
We’ve put together a QUICK but IMPORTANT survey around this issue and encourage you all to participate, so that we can ensure that all members of the community have equal access to the political process.
Please go to the link below and take part in the survey BY 5PM AEDT MONDAY 14th MARCH 2022 and let’s make sure that everyone’s votes are counted at our upcoming elections.