5 May 2014

South Africa: New Ballot Template for Visually Impaired Voters

Photo: Sofia Tosolari/AllAfrica
Standing in line to vote (file photo).

A new, larger ballot paper template has been developed to help visually impaired voters to cast their votes without assistance in Wednesday's general election, the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced on Friday.

The increase in the number of political parties registered to contest the election prompted the IEC and South African National Council for the Blind to develop a new cardboard ballot template for visually impaired voters.

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

The template, which features windows numbered in Braille as well as raised lettering for people with different tactile-literacy levels, will be used for both provincial and national ballots on election day, with the number of parties appearing on the ballot papers as follows:

National - 29 parties

Eastern Cape - 18 parties

Free State - 16 parties

Gauteng - 22 parties

KwaZulu-Natal - 18 parties

Limpopo - 20 parties

Mpumalanga - 16 parties

Northern Cape - 16 parties

North-West - 16 parties

Western Cape - 26 parties

Voters who wish to familiarise themselves with the order of political parties on the national and provincial ballots before going to vote can contact the IEC's call centre on 0800 118 000 and select the self-service option to hear the full list of parties. Calls are free if made from a Telkom land-line.

- SAnews.gov

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