The Swiss Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (SBV) has called for the immediate introduction of electronic voting to eliminate discrimination against the blind in exercising voting and election rights.
The lack of digital accessibility excludes hundreds of thousands of handicapped people, the association said in Bern on Tuesday.
Digitalisation has arrived in almost all areas of life and is developing rapidly, the SBV added at the media conference on Tuesday. Digital products and content must be just as accessible as physical ones.
Due to the lack of accessibility, many products, websites, apps and everyday services such as the use of ticket machines cannot be used independently, or only with difficulty. This contradicts both the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, ratified by Switzerland in 2014, and the 2004 Disability Equality Act, and makes it enormously difficult for those affected to participate.
“One of the most objectionable deficits is the lack of accessibility for blind people and people with visual impairments in terms of exercising their right to vote and to be elected, as well as the protection of their voting secrecy,” said Roland Studer, President of the association. Here, politicians and authorities would have to seize the opportunities and remedy this serious deficiency with accessible digital solutions, such as e-voting.
The 2023 parliamentary elections must be the last elections that are not barrier-free, the SBV president added. The same also applies to signature collections, which should also be made possible electronically, according to the SBV.
Under the title “Digital Accessibility. Now”, the association is also launching an awareness campaign for the population. The focus will be on business and politics. Only if accessibility is considered from the outset can it succeed.
Source : SWI