New technology helps all Ontarians cast their ballot

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Assisted voting

CORNWALL, Ontario - As polling day looms ever-closer on June 12, local representatives want to ensure that the electorate has every opportunity possible to have their democratic say before the ballot boxes close at 9 p.m. And while the traditional method may be to meander down to your nearby polling station on that day, there are other alternatives to help fit your ballot bill.

In particular, assistive voting technology and home visits for those with special needs continue to strike a chord with the electorate.

“This is wonderful,” said John Voet, a visually-challenged voter, who examined the assistive voting technology now available at the Cornwall returning office, as well as most offices in the province. “Basically, it preserves in essence the basic democratic right of the secret ballot.”

The technology ensures those with special needs throughout Stormont-Dundas-South Glengarry have their say at the polls, said Claire Antoine, special ballot officer. 

The assistive voting technology uses audio instructions and provides options which assist voters to cast their ballot secretly and independently.  Various options include an audio tactile interface (large raised buttons with bright colours and Braille inscriptions), paddles or sip and puff technology (a device using air pressure by "sipping" (inhaling) or "puffing" (exhaling) into a straw.

Additionally, home visits are also another very popular option for voters who are house-bound, or who require assistance to complete the required forms because of a disability, and/or are unable to read or write, yet who wish to cast their ballot. In 2011, this proved to be extraordinarily received by the local electorate, and is again available for those who wish to exercise their democratic right.

Those interested in arranging a home visit may call 613-936-0883.

While voters’ cards have been mailed to the electorate and it is better to have them with you, stressed Wes Libbey, election clerk, they are not necessary to cast your vote.

“Qualified voters who did not receive a Notice of Registration card can still vote,” he emphasized. “As long as they are of 18 years of age, are a Canadian citizen and reside in the electoral district, they may vote.

“All they need to do is bring in documents with their name and address.”

For more information, visit http://wemakevotingeasy.ca or call 613-936-0883.

Geographic location: Ontario

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