Sunday, 26 October 2014

"You can't vote,"

a friend of mine was told. No?
Our council elections are being held at present. Unlike the state and federal elections there is no compulsory attendance at the ballot box. Ballot papers were sent out to eligible voters by post. (Eligible means you actually live in or pay rates in the area.)
The Senior Cat and I received ours on Friday. We filled out the ballot papers. (Again, the voting process is different. It is not preferential. You can mark just one for mayor and at least two for your councillors.)
After you fill the ballot papers out you seal them inside an envelope with a flap on it. On that flap you fill out your last name, your given names and your date of birth. You then sign it. You put that envelope inside the pre-paid envelope and post it back. The returning office staff then remove the envelope with the flap, check the details on the flap sand mark your name off the electoral roll, they then remove the flap and add the envelope to the pile of votes to be counted.
It all sounds very simple - unless you can't sign your name.
I have more than one friend and acquaintance with a severe disability. Not all of them can sign their names. One young acquaintance wanted to vote. He lives in group accommodation and his house manager told him he couldn't vote because he couldn't sign his name.
I happened to meet one of the other carers in the library. She told me what had happened.
"Has he still got the voting papers?" I asked
"Yes, I think so."
"Well then it is not a problem. You fill out the forms at his direction and get him to sign it with a thumb print the way he did when he enrolled. Call in on the way back and I'll give you a stamp pad."
She duly called in and I had fortunately found the old stamp pad by then. It needed to be moistened but it worked well enough for the job. The Returning Officer can check it is legitimate.
I need to get a new stamp pad. You never know what it might be needed for. 

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