City of Toronto proposes in-home voting option for municipal elections

4/19/2017

April 19 2017, TORONTO – CNIB is encouraged by City of Toronto's proposal to make voting accessible for electors who are unable to attend their polling location in person, as outlined in the recent report "Authority to Implement Alternative Voting Method for Home-Bound Electors". In the report, the City seeks to pass a by-law to the Municipal Elections Act 1996, which would allow people who are "home-bound" to vote in municipal and school board elections from their homes. The City would make this service available to people "unable to attend a voting place without unreasonable difficulty due to illness, injury or disability." If the by-law is passed, then this program will be in place for the 2018 municipal elections.

With the correct support and mobility training, people with sight loss do not need to be home-bound. Nevertheless, significant barriers still exist in terms of trying to find the location of the nearest polling location (as the polling card is in standard print), sourcing suitable transportation to, and navigating around, the polling location. While major strides have been made to introduce accessible voting technology, the current system still does not allow for a fully accessible voting experience for people who are blind or partially sighted.

CNIB asks the City to ensure that people with disabilities who face significant barriers in casting their vote, but who are not necessarily "home bound", have the option to participate in this program. CNIB also requests that the City ensure that the voting experience at home is equally as accessible to voting at the polling station, with accessible voting materials and information provided to the elector when casting their vote at home.

CNIB applauds the City's efforts in improving the accessibility of municipal and school-board elections, and we hope to work with the City through its community consultations to ensure that this scheme is accessible to electors who are blind or partially sighted. CNIB will also continue to push for online voting to be considered as an accessible voting alternative.

The Executive Committee was due to discuss this item at its meeting on Wednesday 19th April, 9:30 a.m. View the agenda item for further information.

If you wish to contact your councillor on this issue, the information can be found on the City of Toronto website.

Update - April 20, 2017

This item was considered by the Executive Committee on April 19th and was adopted without amendment. It will be considered by City Council on April 26th.


About CNIB

CNIB is a registered charity, passionately providing community-based support, knowledge and a national voice to ensure Canadians who are blind or partially sighted have the confidence, skills and opportunities to fully participate in life. To learn more, visit www.cnib.ca/en/ontario or call the toll-free CNIB Contact Centre at 1-800-563-2642.

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For more information, please contact:

Shannon Simpson, Manager, Communications, CNIB Ontario
O: 1-888-233-1232 ext. 5147/ C: 226-377-2801
shannon.simpson@cnib.ca

Cameron Spark, Communications, CNIB Ontario
416 486-2500 ext. 8622
cameron.spark@cnib.ca

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