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New tool to make voting at the 2005 general election easier for Deaf and hearing impaired

Aug 9, 2005 | Media release

The Chief Electoral Office has made voting easier for the Deaf and hearing impaired, with the production of a sign language DVD about voting.

The Office has worked with the Deaf Association of New Zealand to develop the 2005 General Election sign language DVD.

"We have three priorities in our action plan for voters with disabilities.  These are to improve communication, make voting more accessible and improve disability awareness training for staff," says Chief Electoral Officer, David Henry.

"The sign language DVD is a big step forward in improving the information available about voting in the 2005 General Election," he says.

The sign language DVD uses sign language, sound and captions to explain voting, including enrolling, using the EasyVote card, voting in advance, voting on election day and election night results.

"Because of its clear information in audio and captions the DVD may also be helpful for other community groups," he says.

"Have you imagined what it would be like to be Deaf - sure some of us have selective hearing - but imagine not being able make informed decisions about what happens in our society?  Thanks to the Chief Electoral Office, Deaf can be more informed about what they need to do to vote, and how to make it easy to vote," says Deaf Association of New Zealand spokesperson Elaine Sautia.

"In line with the Disability Strategy this DVD truly allows the Deaf Community of New Zealand equal participation within the <?xml:namespace prefix = st1 ns = "urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags" />New Zealand community."

The Deaf Association worked with the Chief Electoral Office to get this project together.  The presenter Victoria Skorikova (Deaf Association of NZ Staff member) who is Deaf, uses New Zealand Sign Language to get the voting message out. 

"The Deaf Association of NZ has been lobbying for many years for access for the Deaf community and it's great when resources are developed in partnership to meet the needs of the Deaf community. The 2005 General Election DVD represents the Deaf community and its communication needs" says Ms Sautia. 

The 2005 General Election DVD is available from either the Chief Electoral Office in Wellington or the Deaf Association of New Zealand. It is also available [201 here].

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