Kelly in the Media

Accessing the federal election with a disability

The Adelaide Hills Weekender Herald: herald news and comment

While Dignity for Disability is not running in the federal election, we certainly have plenty to say about this national poll.

Firstly, we believe that people with disabilities have the same right to access voting, and all the information associated with it, as easily as everyone else on the electoral roll.

This means a few things, depending on the disabilities you might have, and how that impacts on access to policies and announcements in the media, and on websites and leaflets posted out to voters. Your disability, or status as a family carer, might also impact on how you vote before, or on, polling day

If you have an intellectual or cognitive disability, or brain injury, it is very helpful if political candidates and parties can provide policy information in the simplest language possible – Easy English is best practice, but straight forward explanations certainly help too. How our national economy operates, and all the policies and laws that define how we operate as a society can be difficult to comprehend.

Explaining things clearly also assists young people voting for the first time, and electors with a nonEnglish speaking background. It ensures not just policy experts, political journalists and politicians can understand what is on offer.

If you have a sensory disability – vision impairment, blindness or you are deaf, you may need either audio description, open captions or AUSLAN interpretation for visual mediums such as television stories. If you are blind, you can register to vote electronically over the phone in federal elections – ensuring your vote remains anonymous as the rest of the population enjoys.

People with physical disabilities and medical conditions might need to vote using a postal method you can be registered with the electoral commission to do this ahead of Election Day on July 2.

If you do plan to vote on Saturday, July 2, and use a mobility aid like a wheelchair, you’ll require accessibility at your local polling booth. About two thirds of polling booths are accessible – you can check this with the electoral commission online, in newspapers next week, or by calling them on 13 23 26.

Another consideration Dignity for Disability believe is important is how each candidate intends to support the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). With full roll out commencing here in South Australia on July 1, it’s important to assess what commitment your politicians in the House of Representatives and Senate have to providing the NDIS as legislated and with all the funding needed.

Kelly Vincent MLC, Dignity for Disability