16 Nov 2005

Fiji report says no secret ballots for blind voters

6:18 pm on 16 November 2005

A report from Fiji says blind people will not be able to cast secret ballots in next year's general elections because the Elections Office will not provide ballot papers in Braille.

The Daily Post newspaper says this will put the state and the Elections Office in breach of the 1997 Constitution which makes a secret ballot mandatory for everybody.

The Fiji Disabled Peoples Association has already filed a complaint with the Fiji Human Rights Commission which is now pursuing the issue.

The deputy supervisor of elections, Tomasi Tui, says blind voters will either have to take somebody with them to the ballot booth or be helped by an election official.

Mr Tui has also admitted that the move could leave election results open to legal challenges.