Portugal - If you want to vote, ask for it in Braille!

Recently, on 30th january, Portugal celebrated its elections to parliament. All voters registered in the national territory could choose to register for the early voting that took take place one week before, on January 23rd.

The registration for early voting must be done between the 16th and 20th of January, through the public website www.votoantecipado.mai.gov.pt. When accessing this electronic platform, voters simply had to enter their personal data as full name; birth date; civil identification number; address; polling station in the municipality where they intend to exercise the right to vote early, and contacts

After concluding this operation, on January 23, voters simply  had to present themselves at the chosen polling station, in possession of a valid identification document, and indicate the local in which were registered in the voter registration.

The problem for visually impaired voters begun with the need to introduce a security code presented in images. This detail prevented the full accessibility of the electoral process, a commitment assumed by the Portuguese State, and kept the visually impared voters in disadvantage compared to other citizens.

After the complaint filed by ACAPO in September, regarding the inaccessibility of the Electoral Census website, where it was mandatory to introduce a security code, present in an image and, as such, inaccessible for reading by screen readers used by visually impaired persons, ACAPO once again presented a new complaint, this time concerning access to the early vote request website, which is currently inaccessible to these persons.

As a protest, ACAPO challenged its members who wish to request the anticipated vote to do so by sending a letter, with their name, civil identification, address and municipality where they intend to vote in advance, for the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Internal Administration, but sending this letter in Braille – it is our right to correspond in Braille with public entities, a right that we must enforce.