Offaly TD welcomes tactile voting system for visually impaired
Offaly/North Tipperary TD Carol Nolan has warmly welcomed the introduction of a new Tactile Voting System for people who are blind or vision impaired, which will be available at every polling station throughout the constituency at the forthcoming referendum.
"The introduction of this facility is a timely advancement following the Government’s recent ratification of the UN Convention on the rights of people with disabilities," Carol said.
Until now, people with sight loss had to rely on others to help them mark their ballot paper which compromised their privacy and autonomy.
The Tactile Voting device is a simple clear plastic template which is placed over the ballot paper and will enable a person with sight loss to cast their ballot unassisted. The innovative device incorporates raised lettering, large print and braille with cut-out sections to assist the user in locating the correct position for marking the paper.
"The new system was devised following a landmark High Court case taken by Dublin man Robbie Sinnott, who is vision impaired. His court Judgement cleared the way for a tactile mechanism to be used by people who are blind or visually impaired, and the device was subsequently designed by the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government in association with the National Council for the Blind of Ireland," Nolan explained.
Chris White, CEO of the NCBI, said: “we are urging people with sight loss to contact the NCBI in advance of the upcoming referendum and try out the tactile templates to ensure they are comfortable and at ease using them."
People who are vision impaired will be able to trial the device prior to the Referendum. To make an arrangement, constituents in Offaly can contact the NCBI regional office in Athlone 090 6473575 and constituents in North Tipperary can contact their regional office in Limerick 061 310818
It is expected that the system will also be in use at the next General Election.