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Assistance to vote

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Assistance to electors when voting

Assistance can be provided to electors if they are unable to vote without assistance.

If an election official is satisfied that an elector is unable to vote without assistance, or an elector makes an oral declaration to an election official in the approved form that the elector objects on religious grounds to vote in the manner required, the election official is to permit a person appointed by the elector to assist the elector to vote.

Any elector may seek assistance however the following groups have been identified as most likely to require assistance:

  • older people

  • people with a disability

  • electors under a religious obligation not to mark an electoral paper

  • people who are blind or have low vision

  • culturally and linguistically diverse electors.

The person assisting the elector must mark a vote on the ballot paper (and complete and sign any declaration) according to the instructions of the elector.

An elector can nominate another person, other than a scrutineer, to assist them. If the elector fails to nominate someone then the election official must provide assistance.

Assistance completing ballot papers

  • Any person assisting may accompany the elector to a voting screen to complete, fold and place the ballot paper in the ballot boxes on the elector’s behalf

  • If the elector fails to appoint a person, the election official must assist the elector to vote

  • If an elector is assisted by an election official, a third person must be present when this is taking place. This person must be a scrutineer if there is a scrutineer available. If there is no scrutineer available, this person can be another election official or a person nominated by the elector.

  • A scrutineer can witness an elector receiving assistance to vote but cannot provide the assistance.

Interpreter assistance

An elector may be accompanied by an interpreter who is entitled to be present at all times if the elector needs such help.

Equipment available to assist electors

Maxi pens and magnifying sheets

All voting centres will be provided with supplies of maxi pens (extra-large pens for individuals who are unable to grip regular sized pens) and magnifying sheets for electors who have low vision.

Accessible voting screens

Each voting centre will include an accessible voting screen. This is for use by electors who use a wheelchair or if they have mobility issues.

Electors from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds

Wherever possible early voting centres and voting centres will be staffed with employees that have the language skills to service the electors of the community. Each early voting centre will be provided with ‘I speak language’ stickers to be worn by bilingual election officials. Information to assist electors is available on the NSW Electoral Commission website in 24 different languages.

Translating and interpreting service (TIS)

Early Voting Centre Managers and Voting Centre Managers will have access to the translating and interpreting service to provide assistance to electors with language needs. The translating and interpreting service allows electors to access contracted interpreters speaking more than 160 different languages and dialects.