Discrimination in Electoral Law: Using Technology to Extend the Secret Ballot to Disabled and Illiterate Voters

Alternative Law Journal , Vol. 28, No. 6, p. 272, 2003

Posted: 20 May 2005

See all articles by Bryan Christopher Mercurio

Bryan Christopher Mercurio

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law; University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law

Abstract

With absolute secrecy theoretically accorded to the vote, it would come as a surprise to many Australians to learn that, in fact, the right to vote in secret is not extended to all of the community. In fact, a large percentage of voters, particularly disabled voters with impaired vision or limited arm movements as well as illiterate voters and those voters from non-English speaking backgrounds who may not feel comfortable reading or writing in English (collectively referred to as "special needs voters"), are denied the right to vote in secret and can only cast their ballots with the assistance of an election official, family member or friend. Of course, under our system of compulsory voting, those voters who refuse to give up their right to secrecy are deemed to be breaking the law and subject to a fine for not participating in the election.

This article briefly introduces the reader to the concept of computerised voting. It then evaluates the benefits and, importantly the feasibility, of computerised voting into the electorate.The article concludes that computerised voting should be trialled and, in order to assist special needs voters, introcuduced into the electorate.

Keywords: voting, voting rights, electronic voting, computerized voting, democracy, blind, disabled, illiterate, equal rights

JEL Classification: K10, K30, K40

Suggested Citation

Mercurio, Bryan Christopher, Discrimination in Electoral Law: Using Technology to Extend the Secret Ballot to Disabled and Illiterate Voters. Alternative Law Journal , Vol. 28, No. 6, p. 272, 2003. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=724562

Bryan Christopher Mercurio (Contact Author)

Chinese University of Hong Kong - Faculty of Law ( email )

6/F Western Teaching Complex
Shatin, New Territories
Hong Kong
(852) 2696 1139 (Phone)

University of New South Wales - Faculty of Law

Kensington, New South Wales 2052
Australia

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