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On Vision Australia Radio, Peter Greco is the voice of Vision Extra and Focal Point, which covers a range of topics, including accessible technology, accessible services, and accessible voting.

He's been involved with community radio for over 30 years, and one of the things that Peter is extremely passionate about is the lack of accessible voting in South Australia.

South Australia has the honour of being the first state in Australia to legalise women's voting rights, but it has unfortunately fallen behind with regards to accessible voting for those living with blindness and low vision.

According to Peter, the issue is that the provision of accessible voting is not a legal requirement within the state's legislation.

"It's really disappointing, and clearly unfair," Peter said.

"People should have the right to vote in an independent, secret and verifiable way."

In 2018, South Australian residents living with blindness and low vision were able to make use of a system that allowed them to vote anonymously and independently over the phone at designated locations, though the system had its flaws.

"It was okay, but people had to travel into the city to access the system," Peter said. 

A man in a brown jacket holds a white cane
Caption: A long time Vision Australia Radio host, Peter has become a respected voice in the blind and low vision community. 

In 2022, there was no such system in place, and neither was there an alternative. South Australians living with blindness or low vision had to rely on someone else to fill in their ballot papers.

“It was demoralising,” Peter said.

"It's especially disappointing because since 2007, there has been a system in place for people to vote in federal elections," he said. 

Peter isn't alone in his cause. Tony Starkey and David Squirrell, alongside others living with blindness or low vision, sit on committees with South Australia's Electoral Commission.

"We have had a voice, and these individuals have done an excellent job," Peter said.

"The Electoral Commission in South Australia has been very empathetic, but they have been restricted by the fact that legislation was not and is not in place."

In South Australia's parliament, Matt Cowdrey, Shadow Treasurer and Member for Colton, and Josh Teague, Shadow Attorney-General and member for Heysen, have taken up the cause.

A Private Members Bill has been introduced to legislate accessible voting, and in the meantime, for this year's local government election, a regulation has been put in place in order that accessible voting may take place.

Peter's campaign isn't over.

It won't be until a bill that guarantees that South Australians have an accessible and consistent means of voting is passed in the state's parliament.

His efforts, however, and those of his colleagues, has prompted a step in the right direction, and it's a start.

Chris Edwards, Vision Australian manager of government relations and advocacy, said Peter highlights how the voices of everyday people can lead to positive changes.  

“Like Peter, Vision Australia believes people who are blind or have low vision should have the ability to independently cast a secret and secure vote at elections across Australia," Chris said. 

“Unfortunately, governments across Australia have been unwilling to guarantee this right for our community.

"While Vision Australia believes assisted telephone voting is not the perfect solution, Peter is a great example of the importance of sustained advocacy and the role individuals can play in affecting change.”