Bundestag Election: information for blind persons and notes on barrier-free voting
WIESBADEN – At the 2009 Bundestag Election, blind and visually impaired citizens will be able to cast their votes on their own and without the assistance of a confidant using ballot paper templates. As reported by the Federal Returning Officer, ballot paper templates are provided free of charge by the Land associations of the German Association of Blind and Visually Impaired People (DBSV). Voting will be made easier for registered voters with other physical impairments, too. Under certain conditions, they can cast their votes in a polling station with barrier-free access in their constituency or receive assistance from a helper in voting.
Ballot paper templates have been offered for all of Germany since the 2002 Bundestag Election and the 2004 European Election. The associations of the blind will be reimbursed the costs of template production by the Federal Government.
For orientation purposes, all ballot papers have been punched in the upper right corner, while the upper right corner of the ballot paper template has been cut off. Together with each template, information is supplied on the structure of the template and the ballot paper; that information may be in Braille, on an audio CD, in DAISY format or in large print depending on the Land association. This will enable blind and visually impaired voters to mark their ballot paper on their own in the polling booth on election day or before that day by postal ballot. Those casting their vote at the polling station should however take their ballot paper template home afterwards to ensure the secrecy of the ballot. No difference will be seen on the ballot paper itself.
Without having to be a member of an association of the blind, persons wishing to vote with the help of a ballot paper template may order such template:
- via the hotline of the DBSV for all of Germany under (+49-1805) 66 64 56
(EUR 0.14/min. from the German fixed line network), which will automatically connect the caller with the competent Land association, or
- directly from the Land associations of the DBSV listed at the end of this press release:
Voters with walking disabilities can enquire with their District Returning Officer which of the polling stations in their constituency provides barrier-free access. If the polling station where they are actually expected to cast their vote does not provide barrier-free access, they can apply for a polling card to vote at another polling station with barrier-free access in their constituency. Like any other person entitled to vote, they are of course allowed to vote by postal ballot, too. Unlike in previous Bundestag elections, however, an application for postal voting no longer has to include a serious reason why a voter is not able to go to the polling station on election day.
Persons who are not able to read or, due to a physical impairment, are not in a position to mark the ballot paper on their own, to fold it or put it in the ballot box, can receive assistance from another person in postal voting or at the polling station. The voter can choose the helper himself/herself, for instance, from among the electoral board members. The helper must only fulfil the wishes of the voter and is obliged to keep his/her knowledge of the person’s vote confidential. Further requirements are outlined in the polling card and the postal ballot instruction sheet enclosed with the postal ballot documents.
Upon request, the following Land associations of the DBSV provide blind and visually impaired persons entitled to vote with free ballot paper templates:
- Badischer Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverein V.m.K. in Mannheim
tel: (+49-621) 40 20 31
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverein Südbaden e. V. in Freiburg
tel: (+49-761) 3 61 22
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband Ost-Baden-Württemberg e. V. in Stuttgart
tel: (+49-711) 2 10 60-0
- Bayerischer Blinden- und Sehbehindertenbund e. V. in München
tel: (+49-89) 5 59 88-0
- Allgemeiner Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverein Berlin gegr. 1874 e. V.
tel: (+49-30) 8 95 88 - 0
- Blinden-und-Sehbehinderten-Verband Brandenburg e. V. in Cottbus
tel: (+49-355) 2 25 49
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverein Bremen e. V. in Bremen
tel: (+49-421) 32 77 33
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverein Hamburg e. V.
tel: (+49-40) 20 94 04 - 0
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenbund in Hessen e. V. in Frankfurt am Main
tel: (+49-69) 15 05 96 - 6
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverein Mecklenburg-Vorpommern e. V. in Rostock
tel: (+49-381) 77 89 80
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband Niedersachsen e. V. in Hannover
tel: (+49-511) 51 04 - 0
- Lippischer Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverein e.V. in Detmold
tel: (+49-5231) 63 00 - 0
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband Nordrhein e. V. in Meerbusch
tel: (+49-2159) 96 55 - 0
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverein Westfalen e. V. in Dortmund
tel: (+49-231) 55 75 90 – 0
- Landesblinden- und Sehbehindertenverband Rheinland-Pfalz e. V. in Mainz
tel: (+49-6131) 6 93 97 36
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverein für das Saarland e. V. in Nalbach
tel: (+49-6838) 36 62
- Blinden- und Sehbehinderten-Verband Sachsen e. V. in Dresden
tel: (+49-351) 8 09 06 11
- Blinden- und Sehbehinderten-Verband Sachsen-Anhalt e. V. in Magdeburg
tel: (+49-391) 2 89 62 39
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverein Schleswig-Holstein e. V. in Lübeck
tel: (+49-451) 40 85 08 - 0
- Blinden- und Sehbehindertenverband Thüringen e. V. in Gera
tel: (+49-365) 8 32 22 73
For further information please contact:
tel: (+49-611) 75-2317,