Election reform bill won't help disabled voters: group
The Canadian Press
Published Wednesday, March 31, 2010 7:32AM EDT
TORONTO - Representatives of voters with disabilities will be at the Ontario legislature today to call on the government to remove barriers impeding their access to polling stations.
David Lepofsky of the AODA Alliance says they want fully accessible elections for over one million voters with disabilities.
Bill 231 is supposed to modernize elections, including addressing barriers facing voters with disabilities.
But Lepofsky says the bill won't ensure that disabled voters can get into polling stations or mark ballots independently.
He says the government knows about serious impediments to the voting process, but Bill 231 does little to fix this.
Lepofsky says Elections Ontario's 2007 election report indicates 47 per cent of voters with special needs said they experienced problems at their voting locations and 15 per cent said they had problems casting their ballots.
"This bill just lets Elections Ontario hold conferences or do research, or use accessible voting machines if it wishes," he said.
"It doesn't require Elections Ontario to do any of this," he added.
Last month, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled an inaccessible federal polling station violated a disabled voter's rights.
Elections Canada was ordered to clean up its act and pay that voter $10,000 damages.