Nov. 4, 2008
FREDERICTON (CNB) - New Brunswickers with special needs will benefit from new technologies being used by Elections New Brunswick for municipal by-elections on Monday, Nov. 24. The technologies were first developed for the May 12, 2008 quadrennial elections, and were successful at improving access for seniors and voters with special needs.
The technologies will be available in Grand Manan, Sainte-Marie-Saint-Raphaël and Woodstock.
An audio vote system at returning offices will benefit visually impaired voters, those who have difficulty reading or marking a ballot, and others who request to vote by this method. Voters may also cast a ballot unassisted using the audio voting system, which features a sip-and-puff option.
"Voters will be able to use headphones to privately listen to their candidate choices, then make selections using a controller with large buttons and braille," said Mike Quinn, municipal electoral officer. "Individuals with motor disabilities and limited dexterity may use a special tube that attaches to the audio vote machine, and by using their mouths, signal their voting intention."
Pocket Talkers are audio amplification devices, and are available at all returning offices and poll locations for voters with hearing difficulties. Special ballot officers will have Pocket Talkers with them when they collect the votes of housebound voters. Hand-held magnifiers will also be available at every returning office and polling station.
Elections New Brunswick also offers the services of sign language interpreters to assist hearing-impaired voters. Voters may book appointments to meet an interpreter at the polling station to assist with communicating with election officials. To make an appointment for a sign-language interpreter, call the Saint John Deaf and Hard of Hearing, TTY-506-634-8037, or voice mail at 506-633-0599; or the Southeast Deaf and Hard of Hearing, TTY-506-384-8260, or voice mail at 506-859-6101.
Additional aids and services include:
Elections New Brunswick welcomes feedback on any of these supports, or other suggestions that will further improve access for voters.
MEDIA CONTACT: Michael Quinn, municipal electoral officer, Elections New Brunswick, 506-453-2218, firstname.lastname@example.org.