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Local Election Access in NZSL

Councils and District Health Boards (DHBs) must ensure Local Government
Elections are fully accessible in New Zealand Sign Language.

With the Local Government Election period underway, Deaf Action reminds
every Council and DHB to make sure their election process is accessible
for all potential candidates and voters who use New Zealand Sign
Language (NZSL).

NZSL is an official language in New Zealand therefore it is necessary to
ensure information about candidates and the election process is provided
to the Deaf community as it is for the hearing community. This includes
information events for potential candidates, Meet the Candidate events
for both the voter and candidates. It is the responsibility of Councils
and DHBs to ensure this occurs.

Chair of Deaf Action Kim Robinson poses a question for all councils and
DHBs; ‘what good is the value of our vote when we cannot access the
context of the elections?’

NZSL is the first language of many Deaf New Zealanders who traditionally
do not vote or participate in the election process as the information is
inaccessible. Relying on written English is not an option and prevents
people from making an informed vote.

Democracy is for everyone in NZ. NZSL is an official language in New
Zealand. Making Local Government Election events accessible in NZSL
acknowledges the citizenship rights of Deaf people and their right to
participate in elections as a candidate or a voter.

Make Elections 100% accessible in 2019.

© Scoop Media

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