ACCESSIBILITY FOR ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT ALLIANCE UPDATE
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UNITED FOR A BARRIER-FREE ONTARIO
WILL ONTARIO'S TWO SEPTEMBER 6 2012 BY-ELECTIONS BE FULLY ACCESSIBLE TO ALL VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES?
August 27, 2012
Our non-partisan disability coalition continues to
spearhead a campaign to make elections in
In our latest effort, the AODA Alliance has again written
to Elections Ontario on August 24, 2012, to ask Elections Ontario to ensure that
in the upcoming September 6, 2012, by-elections in two
Our August 24, 2012, letter to
* The AODA Alliance objects to Elections Ontario's flat
refusal to deploy the option of telephone and internet voting for voters with
disabilities, and for all voters, in these two upcoming by-elections. In 2010,
as a result of our advocacy, the Legislature gave Elections Ontario a mandate to
test such modern voting options in by-elections starting in 2012. Earlier this
Elections Ontario categorically
refused to test telephone and internet voting technologies in any by-election in
2012. See http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/05242012.asp
The AODA Alliance has been in the lead in
pressing for telephone and internet voting in
* The AODA Alliance urges Elections Ontario to deploy in
these two by-elections all the 140 accessible voting machines, already purchased
by Elections Ontario with taxpayer money for last year's election. These
machines are designed to enable voters to mark their own ballots and verify
their choices, if they are blind, have low vision, are dyslexic, or cannot use
their hands to mark a ballot. Elections
In the 2011 general
* The AODA Alliance urges Elections Ontario to make
accessible voting machines available to voters with disabilities on Election Day
itself, September 6, 2012, and not just in advance polls. In the 2011
Here's why our most recent effort is so important and
In these by-elections, every issue, every vote, and every
voter counts. To
learn about the
disability accessibility issues we raise in these two September 6, 2012
On a related note, the AODA Alliance is also urging voters
with disabilities to raise disability accessibility issues in these by-election
campaigns. As part of this, we urge voters with disabilities, their families,
and friends to ask for commitments at all-candidates debates, to ensure that
Below we set out information about an August 28, 2012, all-candidates meeting from 7:30 to 10 a.m. in Vaughn riding, and an August 29, 2012, all-candidates meeting in the Kitchener-Waterloo riding from 7:10 to 9 pm. Questions at the K-W event may have to be submitted on-line in advance. The K-W event will be broadcast live on 570 News Radio. It may be possible to listen live on the internet by visiting that radio station's website.
We encourage one and all to visit the links provided below for these events to learn more about them. Let us know if you hear of any other all-candidates debates or meetings in these ridings during this campaign so we can publicize them to the disability community. We can be contacted at email@example.com
In May 2010, the Ontario Legislature passed Bill 231, to
The frustrating saga of our efforts over the past two years to get informative answers from Elections Ontario since the Legislature passed Bill 231 is revealed in a series of letters between Elections Ontario and us from May 3, 2010, to the present. In our letters, we ask a series of clear and appropriate questions. We obviously seek detailed answers from this public agency. We also make very specific and concrete proposals.
In this series of letters, we often receive very general and incomplete responses. Too many of our questions are left unanswered. We have made these letters public on our website. This exchange of letters includes the following:
The AODA Alliance's May 3, 2010 letter to Elections Ontario is available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/05032010.asp
Elections Ontario's June 25, 2010 letter to the AODA Alliance is available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/11222010.asp
The AODA Alliance's November 18, 2010 letter to elections Ontario is available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/11222010.asp
The December 3, 2010 letter to the AODA Alliance from Elections Ontario is available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/04082011.asp
The AODA Alliance's October 28, 2011 letter to Elections Ontario is available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/10312011.asp
Elections Ontario's November 17, 2011 letter to the AODA Alliance is available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/11252011.asp
The AODA Alliance's May 14, 2012 letter to Elections Ontario is available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/05142012.asp
Elections Ontario's May 22, 2012 letter to the AODA Alliance is available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/05242012.asp
The AODA Alliance's May 23, 2012 letter to Elections Ontario is available at http://www.aodaalliance.org/strong-effective-aoda/05242012.asp
AUGUST 24, 2012 LETTER FROM THE AODA
TO ELECTIONS ONTARIO
ONTARIANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT
August 24, 2012
Mr. Greg Essensa, Chief Electoral Officer
facsimile (416) 326-6200
We write to reinforce the need for Elections Ontario to ensure that the September 6, 2012 by-elections in the Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughn ridings are fully accessible to voters with disabilities.
1. Telephone and Internet Voting
We regret very much that Elections Ontario unilaterally
decided not to deploy telephone and internet voting in these two upcoming
by-elections. As you know, almost two and a half years ago, the Ontario
Legislature voted to empower Elections Ontario to test telephone and internet
voting in by-elections starting in 2012. The Legislature did this to see if
these technologies should be deployed across
These two upcoming by-elections provide a tremendous and timely opportunity to test and showcase these promising modern options for accessible voting in two different parts of the province. By holding two by-elections at the same time, Ontarians could benefit from a larger number of voters having the chance to try out these options.
Telephone and internet voting would be a positive stride forward for many voters with disabilities. That option is far more accessible than marking a paper ballot at a polling station, particularly for voters with little or no vision and for those with dyslexia. Telephone and/or internet voting would also make voting much easier for voters without disabilities. If available, all voters, those with disabilities and those with no disabilities, could choose to vote over the telephone or internet if they wish, rather than trekking to a polling station.
Well over a year and a half ago, on December 3, 2010,
Elections Ontario wrote us saying it planned to be prepared to test telephone
and internet voting in by-elections by this year. These two by-elections come in
the second half of this year. Elections
By-elections do not happen very often. We have no way of knowing how many months will now pass before Elections Ontario will have another chance to try out telephone and internet voting.
We respectfully disagree with your unilateral decision
refusing to test telephone and/or internet voting in any by-election at any time
this year. Elections
In our letter to you dated May 23, 2012, we requested a face-to-face meeting with you to discuss this issue. To date, you have not answered that letter or otherwise agreed to meet. We believe that this is not appropriate service for voters with disabilities. Given Elections Ontario's troubled track record with barriers to accessible voting, pointedly exemplified in the stunning instance of a physically inaccessible polling station in the heart of downtown Toronto in the February 10, 2010 Toronto Centre by-election, we believe that Elections Ontario should be more responsive.
We repeat our request to meet with you as soon as possible. We seek, among other things, a detailed explanation of why Elections Ontario has not been ready to test telephone and/or internet voting in these by-elections, and commitments on when Elections Ontario will be ready to deploy these technologies.
Several months ago, Elections Ontario issued a Request for
Proposal (RFP) for a company to assist with deploying these technologies.
2. Deployment of Accessible Voting Machines on Voting Day in the two September 6, 2012 Ontario By-elections
On the advice of Elections Ontario, last year the Ontario
Government purchased some 140 accessible voting machines for deployment in
We would like to know if Elections Ontario will be deploying all of these 140 or so accessible voting machines in the upcoming September 6, 2012 Kitchener-Waterloo and Vaughn by-elections. We recommended this in our May 23, 2012 letter to you which you have not answered. If so, where will they be deployed? Since the taxpayer has funded the purchase of these machines, it would make sense to deploy them all, and not merely one or two per riding, in these two by-elections.
Also, we raised with you in our May 23, 2012 letter the
need for Elections Ontario to make these accessible voting machines available on
voting day itself, September 6, 2012, not only in advance polls. In the 2011
3. Other Outstanding Questions
To date, Elections Ontario has still not fully answered a number of the important questions we have raised with you in our earlier letters dated October 28, 2011, May 14, 2012, and May 23, 2012. We are eager for Elections Ontario to promptly provide full answers to all our outstanding inquiries.
In addition, we are eager to know the current status of
Elections Ontario's disability advisory group. How often has it met since the
October 2011 general
Finally, we understand that Elections Ontario had intended
to produce a report on the accessibility of the 2011
You have emphasized in the past that full voting accessibility for voters with disabilities is a priority for you and for Elections Ontario. We endorse your earlier commitments that Elections Ontario should be open, transparent, and accountable. You have in the past also expressed a strong desire to work together with our coalition. We regret that Elections Ontario's failure to deploy telephone and/or internet voting in these by-elections, its failure to answer a number of our past inquiries, and not answering our request for a face-to-face meeting in our May 23, 2012 letter to you fall short of those important commitments.
We look forward to hearing from you at your earliest convenience. We would appreciate especially knowing about your plans regarding the accessible voting machines in these by-elections so we can let our supporters know when and where to go to use them.
David Lepofsky, CM, O. Ont.
cc: Hon. Dalton McGuinty, Premier, fax 416-325-9895, email firstname.lastname@example.org
John Milloy, Minister, Community & Social Services, fax (416) 325-3347, email email@example.com
Marguerite Rappolt, Deputy Minister, Community & Social Services, fax (416) 325-5240, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Ellen Waxman, Assistant Deputy Minister, Accessibility Directorate, fax (416) 325-9620, email Ellen.Waxman@ontario.ca
Tim Hudak, Leader of the Official Opposition, fax (416) 325-0491, email email@example.com
Andrea Horwath, Third Party Leader, fax (416) 325-8222, email firstname.lastname@example.org
Posted as of August 25, 2012 at: http://vaughanchamber.ca/
VAUGHN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE
Date: August 28, 2012
Time: 7:30am - 10:00am
Location: Toscana Banquet and Conference : Toscan
WEB POSTING ON KITCHENER-WATERLOO AUGUST 29, 2012 ALL CANDIDATES MEETING
Posted as of August 25, 2012 at: http://memberservices.membee.com/onkitcoc/eventstest02.aspx?id=1007&event=Y
Greater KW Chamber of Commerce Presents All Candidates Meeting
Event Details Date: Wednesday, August 29, 2012 Remind Me
Time: 7:10 PM - 9:00 PM
All Candidates Meeting Details
The Greater Kitchener Waterloo Chamber of Commerce, in collaboration with 570 News, will be hosting a By-election Candidate Meeting in the riding of Kitchener-Waterloo with moderator Glenn Pelletier, Morning News Anchor from 570 News.
This meeting will be broadcasted live on 570 News.
Please forward any potential questions to Ian McLean and Art Sinclair at the Chamber.
Thank you for your support!
Registration is not required, limited seating available and given on a first come first serve basis.