Our vote is not our secret - LOFOB

2019-05-14 06:00

Special voting during the recent national and provincial elections was a let-down experience for blind people. The League of the Friends of the Blind’s (Lofob) braille expert is of the opinion that the template does not ensure that blind people get to cast their vote entirely in secret as the assistance of a sighted official is still needed.

The template is designed in such a way that it has the numbers from one to 48; the person has to select a number for a specific party but still requires sighted assistance to know which number represents which party! Prior to the election, the IEC hosted a voter education programme at Lofob where we raised concern with the format of the braille template.

It appears that our feedback fell on deaf ears and we were left to vote using the template with the assistance of a sighted person. One of our residents said the experience was not a positive one and no matter how good the relationship with the sighted person is, you cannot say your vote is a secret when you need to call for assistance. It is not practical to have a party list of 48 and expect that a person would have to remember the entire list to go and make their mark where needed!

So if one got confused with a number, it would mean the blind person’s vote would go for the wrong party! Lofob clients are therefore of the opinion that “our vote is not our secret”.

Lofob Grassy Park

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