ODA Committee Update
dated Oct. 27, 2003
Posted Oct. 30, 2003
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE UPDATE
ODA Committee Writes To Elections Ontario Offering To Help With Post-Election Assessment Of Barriers In The Election Process
October 27, 2003
The ODA Committee has received informal word that Elections Ontario is conducting some sort of an assessment of barriers in the recent provincial election. We have written to Elections Ontario to offer to help encourage people to participate in this assessment, and to ask for specifics. See the letter below.
Send us your feedback at:
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT COMMITTEE
c/o Marg Thomas
1929 Bayview Avenue, Toronto ON M4G 3E8
Tel: (Voice direct) 416-480-7686
Voice mail: 416-480-7012
TTY: c/o Susan Main 416 964-0023 ex. 343
Web site: www.odacommittee.net
October 27, 2003
John L. Hollins
Chief Election Officer
51 Rolark Drive
Scarborough, Ontario M1R 3B1
Fax (416) 326-6200
Re: Ensuring A Barrier-Free Provincial Election for Voters with Disabilities
I write on behalf of the Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee. We are a voluntary, non-partisan, province-wide coalition of individuals and community organizations. We have united to achieve a barrier-free Ontario for some 1.9 million Ontarians with disabilities through the enactment and effective implementation of a strong and effective Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
Recently we have received word indirectly from within the community that Elections Ontario is conducting some sort of post-election assessment of the 2003 provincial election process, to see what sorts of barriers may have been encountered by voters with disabilities. We very much commend Elections Ontario for having taken steps to promote a barrier-free election, and for looking into this issue afterwards to see what results were achieved.
To date, Elections Ontario has not contacted the ODA Committee to get our input into its post-election assessment. We gather that you have had some contact with some of our many organizational members.
As you know, the ODA Committee has led the charge over the past several years for a barrier-free election process. We want to do what we can to help. For example, we would like to circulate any questionnaire you might be using through our wide email network, and to encourage as many people as possible to participate. Please forward to me, preferably via email, any material that we might circulate. We also strongly encourage you to ensure that your outreach goes as far as possible beyond contacting community organizations, to ensure that individuals with disabilities can have the opportunity for direct input.
Through our ongoing activities, we have already received some feedback about some barriers encountered in the recent election. We want to be sure that you can hear from people directly about these.
As but one personal example, while the ballot this year was better for blind voters, like me, than had been the case back in 1995, there is still room for considerable improvement. I had no way to ensure that I had marked my ballot correctly, so that it would not be spoiled. I had no way to check it after the fact without asking another sighted person to check it for me. I of course like other voters would like my vote to remain totally secret. Speaking for myself, based on my personal experience alone, there is room for still more to be done before the next provincial election or by- elections. I am confident that other voters with disabilities will have their own ideas and experience that they, too would wish to share directly with you.
We thank you again for your efforts to date at addressing election barriers. We look forward to hearing from you at your convenience, and would be pleased to do whatever we can to solicit feedback for you.
David Lepofsky, C.M.
Ontarians with Disabilities Act Committee
cc: Hon. Dalton Mcguinty (416) 325-9895
Dwight Duncan (416) 325-2201
Marie Bountrogianni (416) 325-7192
Ernie Eves (519) 941-3246
Howard Hampton (416) 325-8222
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