Search

Election 2017: Forest Gate law graduate calls for online voting for visually impaired voters

PUBLISHED: 14:16 30 May 2017 | UPDATED: 14:18 30 May 2017

Ruksana Khanum. Picture: Royal Society for Blind Children

Ruksana Khanum. Picture: Royal Society for Blind Children

Royal Society for Blind Children

Ahead of next week’s general election, a law graduate is calling for more accessible voting systems for people with vision impairments.

Partially-sighted Forest Gate resident, Ruksana Khanum, wants political parties to introduce an online voting option and update current polling stations with electronic machines or an automated telephone system.

The Royal Society for Blind Children’s Youth Forum representative said the current options at polling stations, including large print ballot forms and braille overlay, are “really out of date and are not working”.

“They are really not a sensible solution because it is really easy to spoil your ballot paper,” the 26-year-old said.

“Also at the moment when I have to go, I need to take someone with me.

“It doesn’t give me the right to an independent or anonymous vote because someone has to help me.”

Digital democracy think-tank WebRoots Democracy, which has teamed up with RSBC to raise awareness of the issue, says the digital technology already exists to run online voting.

The charity’s chief executive, Areeq Chowdhury, said: “Voters are being left out of democracy by an analogue attitude towards elections.

“Digital technology exists to enable vision impaired voters to independently participate in elections, and it’s high time we adopted it for this critical purpose.”

Ruksana agreed calling voting “one of our fundamental rights”.

She said: “We as a democratic society need to uphold our democracy and make sure every vote counts.

“It feels like people who are visually impaired are not counted.

“I should be contributing to society but I know many visually impaired people who think ‘I can’t be bothered because it is too difficult’.

“You can’t really blame them for not wanting to get involved.”

WebRoots Democracy and the RSBC are carrying out research at the forthcoming general elections to better understand how technology can reduce the barriers to democratic participation for vision-impaired voters.

A spokeswoman for the electoral commission said polling station staff “must ensure that disabled voters are not offered a lower standard of service than other voters”.

She said: “Blind or partially sighted electors can vote without assistance using a tactile voting device provided at their polling station.

“We recommend that all polling station staff must know how to use the tactile voting device and are able to explain its use.”

Related articles

Latest Newham Stories

17:00

Wapping head into the Christmas break five points clear at the top of the East Premier A table after a 1-0 win over nearest rivals Harleston Magpies at Lee Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre.

Valley Hockey & Tennis Centre
15:00

St Bonaventure’s year 10 handball team bagged the top prize at the borough’s Handball Cup competition.

Newham

With less than a fortnight to go before the big day, donations are mounting for the appeal.

Forest Gate

The former Stevenage midfielder is slowly building up his fitness after a difficult summer on the sidelines

Charlie Lee

Local paper journalists may not get to review West End musicals or critique Michelin star restaurants – but they do get to enjoy the festive spectacle that is the local pantomime.

France
12:00

Clapton manager Jonny Fowell wants his side to bounce back when they take on Enfield at the Old Spotted Dog this evening.

Essex Senior League
15:57

Newham Council shook up its Christmas lunch service this month to help elderly residents beat the winter blues.

Stephen Timms

PROMOTED CONTENT

Have you spent time as an unpaid carer? If you are over the age of 25 and living in Newham, the Working for Carers scheme can help you take the first steps back to employment.

Hanson Fernandes’ journey began in 2015 when he arrived in London from Goa, India.

Newsletter Sign Up

Newham Recorder twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most read news

Hot Jobs

Show Job Lists

Education Promo

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now