Pioneering Braille system in place

2011-05-18 00:00

BLIND voters will for first time this year be assured of the secrecy of their vote at local government level following the introduction of the Braille template system to help them identify the parties and candidates of their choice.

Explaining the new system during a press conference in Durban yesterday, the Independent Electoral Commission’s KwaZulu-Natal electoral officer, Mawethu Mosery, said blind voters will put the ordinary ballot paper on the template and an IEC official will read to them the positions of political parties and candidates on the ballot papers. Blind voters will then be able to use their fingers to find the position of the party of their choice.

Mosery said South Africa is the second country in the world, after Canada, to use this system of voting at local government level.

The new system is more advanced than the one used by blind voters at national and provincial government level elections as from 1999.

Meanwhile, Mosery reported that three IEC officials were seriously injured — two critically — in two separate accidents at Ladysmith and Imbabazane on Monday afternoon.

Mosery said two officials are still in hospital while the third was treated and discharged on the same day.

By yesterday afternoon about 19 200 voters who had applied for special votes had managed to cast their vote.

The IEC said about 3 000 people who applied for special votes failed to exercise this option, but they are still eligible to cast their votes today.

Mosery said minor disruptions experienced during the two days of special voting helped the IEC to identify hassles it might face today, and it is well prepared to face them.

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