The vote is in! VisAbility to become polling centre

VisAbility will be a voting centre in the WA state elections taking place in March 2021. Voting is compulsory for anyone over the age of 18 whose name is on the State electoral role.

We’re one of seventy venues throughout WA to offer early voting. It means individuals can vote up to a fortnight before the election date. Our team of Access Consultants have helped to shape the accessibility needs of voting methods.

Braille Officer Leone Carrol holds up a Vote Assist poster
Braille Officer Leone Carroll has prepared charts for Vote Assist

Official voting day itself is Saturday 13 March. Early voting is available from February 24. There are many advantages to voting early, not least because you’re voting ahead of the crowds and avoiding any long queues.

Research shows as many as one in four people vote in the fortnight preceding. Many choose this option because they’re electors living with a disability or serious illness. It’s also more common for people who are seventy or over.

Making voting accessible

The polling booths will be in Handa Hall with minimal disruption to day-to-day activities taking place at VisAbility. The Perron Place Gym (link opens in a new window) will still be open. There will be electoral staff overseeing the operation.

Yellow sign which says Elections Ahead
State elections are just around the corner

VisAbility Manager of Specialist Services, Dinesh Burah says it’s a great opportunity to support the state election to be both inclusive and accessible. There’s added benefits to our clients because they’ll be accessing early voting in familiar surroundings. They’ll also have assistive technology and accessible versions  of material for people with low or no vision.

It is heartening to see the availability of more accessible polling stations and our location is perfect for this. We’re close to accessible transport and our building has wide aisles to accommodate wheelchairs.  A vote assist keyboard will be available for those who need it.

Dinesh Burah, Manager Specialist Services

Helping you to cast your vote

Vote assist allows electors to listen to pre-recorded voting instructors and details ballot paper information. The special numeric keyboard allows people to select their preferences and will be linked to audio headphones. The vote will be self-printed before it’s then lodged in the ballot box.

Braille Officer Leone Carroll has been providing Braille transcription on the instructions chart. She’s also been working on a Braille poster for ‘menu options’ for voters using this Vote Assist service. The Braille wording is placed on the laminated posters. They will go on tables, so people can refer to them as they make their vote.

There will also be CCTV magnifiers, a type of video magnifier available at the polling station.

Our Access Services team has collaborated with the Western Australian Electoral Commission, so the Vote Assist software is more accessible. It’s the third time the Commission has called on our expertise.

We anticipate that approximately 2,200 electors will opt for assisted voting in WA.

Of course, while voting accessibility is important, so is making sure people feel they have a reason to vote. Everyone should undertake their own research, learn more about the different candidates and how each aligns with their values.

For more information on accessible voting, early voting or the WA State election, contact the Western Australia Electoral Commission (link opens in a new window).