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
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: Suggested Citation