YOUR RIGHTS AS A BLIND VOTER WHEN CASTING YOUR VOTE
Here is a short and simple description of the ways in which a blind or partially sighted person is entitled to vote at the upcoming elections on 8 May and how the process will work:
If you are unable to read, you may request the presiding officer or voting officer to assist you to vote. The officer must then assist you in the presence of a person appointed by an accredited observer and two agents from different parties if such persons are available.
Alternatively you are entitled to request to be assisted by someone nominated by you to assist you, if the presiding officer is satisfied that such a person is at least 18 years old and is not an agent or candidate of a political party.
If you prefer to vote independently, you may request a universal ballot template (UBT) from the presiding officer and to be allowed to use the template in privacy in the voting booth to cast your secret ballot.
In all these cases secrecy of the vote must be preserved as far as possible.
In the past it sometimes happened that blind or partially sighted voters experienced difficulties in casting their votes, because presiding officers were unaware of the provisions of the Electoral Act. If you intend to use any of the methods described above and experience difficulties, then refer the presiding officer to the following legal provisions which govern these rights:
- section 39 of the Electoral Act,
- The Constitution of South Africa, Bill of Rights Chapter 2 article 19,
- Article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities as ratified by government
article by Blind SA