Universal ballot for visually impaired voters

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Pretoria - A new and bigger universal ballot paper template has been developed for visually impaired voters for them to vote without assistance in the May 7 general elections, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced on Friday.

The increased number of political parties registered to contest the elections has led the IEC and South African National Council for the Blind (SANCB) having to develop a special new cardboard ballot template to allow visually impaired voters to vote unaided in the elections.

According to the IEC, the new cardboard template can accommodate the national ballot paper featuring the 29 parties and replaces the existing plastic universal ballot template used in previous elections, which can only accommodate a ballot paper with up to 18 parties.

The new cardboard template works in exactly the same way as the plastic universal ballot template. It has windows numbered in Braille and with raised letters so that people with different tactile-literacy levels can use the same template.

The universal ballot will be used for both provincial and national ballots on election day, scheduled for next week Wednesday.

For the upcoming election, the following number of parties appears on the ballot papers:

National            29

Eastern Cape    18

Free State         16

Gauteng            22

KwaZulu-Natal   18

Limpopo           20

Mpumalanga     16

Northern Cape   16

North-West        16

Western Cape   26

The IEC said voters who wish to familiarise themselves with the order of the political parties on the national and provincial ballots before going to vote, information is available through its call centre.

Voters need only contact the call centre on 0800118000 and select the self-service option to hear the list of parties as they appear on the national and provincial ballot papers. Calls are free if made from an ordinary Telkom landline.-SAnews.gov.za


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