A severely visually impaired man has won his High Court case over the State’s duty to vindicate his right to vote privately and without assistance in referendums and elections. Robbie Sinnott had taken proceedings against the Minister for the Environment and the State. He was supported by the Free Legal Advice Centres. In his judgment, Mr Justice Tony O’Connor said Mr Sinnott has “an inspiring desire to learn and to participate”. He shared Mr Sinnott’s concerns about the Department of the Environment’s delay over years in introducing the relevant tactile voting systems, and about the lack of information made publicly available about them.
The evidence was that the cost of providing templates for referendums was estimated at about €42,000, “quite insignificant compared to the multi-million euro budget for a referendum”. The cost would be higher in general elections.
The judge shared Mr Sinnott’s concerns that the Minister did not afford sufficient or reasonable recognition of the duty imposed on him by the Oireachtas and the Constitution to assure a secret ballot as soon as reasonably practicable.
Full Article: Visually impaired man wins case against State over voting.