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For the first time in Flanders, visually impaired people can vote independently. Voters, registered in Mechelen or Aalst, will have access to voting computers equipped with an audio module and control panel with relief keys. During the elections on October 14 the audio module will be tested in these two pilot cities. If the evaluation afterwards is positive the goal is to enroll this audio module everywhere in Flanders by the next elections. The Brailleliga had an active role because it made recommendations during the development process.
How does the audio module work?
A member of the electoral committee guides the blind voter to the voting booth and hands over the headset. As soon as the voter inserts the card into the voting computer, the screen switches off and the voting computer goes into 'audio mode'. A synthetic voice guides the person through the voting process and indicates how he can operate the control panel. There are navigation buttons with relief with which the voter scrolls through the various lists and candidates. The lists and candidates are read aloud. The dialer navigates with the control panel and makes his choice of voice. At the end the voter hears which choices he has made for which election. If he/she wants, he/she can still modify his or her choice.
We are very happy with this development. Voting is very important in a democracy and in this way visually impaired people can vote independently and they can take part in the democratic society.