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Blind SA - A Beacon of Hope for the Visually Impaired to Vote

By Blind SA (Lerato Jiyane)

With the highly anticipated 2024 elections coming up, all who are eligible are urged to register and to vote. Lack of digital accessibility, assistance for the visually impaired, and persons suffering with disabilities has led to thousands of people unable to exercise their democratic right, this unfair exclusion is now coming to an end thanks to the collective work of the IEC, Blind SA, and South African National Council for the Blind.

In 2014 Blind SA began to diligently work with the IEC to create fair and easier ways for the visually impaired to vote and have their voices heard, hence the invention of the Universal Ballot Template (UBT) this voting aid tool is made out of plastic or cardboard and consists of a hole at the bottom left corner so that the ballot paper fits in it and is correctly placed in the box. This UBT can be used by the following people:

  • Visually impaired

  •  The Elderly

  •  Suffering with Dyslexia

  • Those with low literacy

Blind SA also offers training to the blind and partially sighted people on how to use the UBT prior to elections. In 2019 Blind SA registered as observers for the elections and selected individuals to observe at twenty different voting stations and compiled a report that was sent to the IEC.

A workshop was held in November 2023 with the IEC, Blind SA, and SANCB in which issues, clarification of problems and more suggestions were discussed regarding an easier flow to vote and access to assistance for people with disability and visual impairments.

Furthermore, Blind SA created a Whatsapp group that shares information relating to voting, this platform allows blind and partially sighted people to ask questions, get assistance and stay informed.

With just a few more months to go, we hope more people will exercise their right to vote and make their mark these coming elections - especially those that have previously been unable due to various barriers. For more information and assistance make use of the IEC contact details below:

  • IEC Website -

  • SMS line - ID Number to 32810 (SMS is R1.00)

  • Whatsapp line - 060 088 0000

  •  USSD - 120432#

Blind SA will continue to advocate for Blind and partially sighted people and urges everyone to join in the good struggle in all ways possible for a better country with equality and accessibility for all. May this 2024 be the year we all do more.


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