My vote counts. Make election polling voting centres wheelchair accessible.

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My name is Grant. I’m passionate about footy, democracy, and accessibility. Living with a Disability and chronic pain for 28 years has meant I've had my fair share of challenges to overcome in the search for access and equality. Thankfully, keeping fit by playing Wheelchair AFL for the Richmond Tigers often helps me develop somewhat unorthodox solutions to everyday problems.

In preparation for the recent Victorian state election, I went looking for the closest fully accessible voting centre I could push my way too... the problem? There wasn't one. So I looked outside my district of Richmond, only to discover there wasn't one in the Melbourne electorate either. The closest listed Independent Wheelchair Access (IWA) centre according to VEC was in Docklands: a 45 minute, 2 tram and 600 metre push away.

Now that we know the federal election is coming up in May, I’m concerned that people with disabilities around Australia will face the same problem. 

After a look into the surrounding districts, I discovered that the majority of voting centres are LNWA: Limited or No Wheelchair Access. All but a handful of centres were off limits to people living with a disability, and those listed as accessible came with a disclaimer that they are AWA (Assisted Wheelchair Access). AWA means they have corridors too narrow to navigate independently, ramps built that may restrict wheelchair access, or have paths from the car park or street to the building entrance that are inaccessible for wheelchair users, the list goes on.

That’s why I’m calling on the Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) and the Victorian Electoral Commission (VEC) to change this severe oversight in the following ways:

> To ensure EVERY future electoral division includes at least 1 independent wheelchair accessible voting centre. 

> For local councils and the AEC/VEC to publicise and ensure accessible centres are promoted and included in all communications so that every vote counts.

People with Disabilities have a place in our democratic process. We want to fully participate in democracy without any barriers. We want to turn up to a nearby polling booth on election day, grab a democracy sausage, and vote just like everyone else.

Can you help me send a message before the federal election happens? Please sign and share this petition, and let the Australian Electoral Commission know that People with Disabilities have a place in our democratic process.