Open Letter to the Electoral Commission

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express has been sent a letter that frankly shocked us. It was a letter sent in from Philip Patston who has a bone to pick with the electoral commission.

Philip describes himself as: “When labels are called for, I identify as gay, disabled, white and male. I live and work in beautiful Westmere, Auckland.

On September 5th Mr Patston visited Grey Lynn Community Centre in Auckland to cast a special vote, Find out below the experience had by Mr Patstton.

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TO WHOM IT MAY CONCERN

I have just been to Grey Lynn Community Centre to cast a special vote.vAs I use a wheelchair I checked elections.org.nz to ensure access ‹ thevsite listed it as fully wheelchair accessible. When I arrived the door being used had a step. I entered through the centre’s main door and went to the inside door of the Oval Room.

My PA went to open the door and it was blocked by a table. He was told to use the inaccessible entrance. He then had to argue with staff to convince them to move the table to allow me access. Neither of us received any apology.

After voting I approached a staff member to inform him that the centre was listed as fully accessible. He refused to listen to me and engaged instead with my companion, saying that he couldn’t discuss my vote with me. I said that I didn’t wish to discuss my vote and repeated my concern.

The staff member then proceeded to give excuses about why they couldn’t make the accessible door available, saying the furniture wouldn’t fit (which, in fact, it did). Again, no acknowledgement or apology was given.

I consider this treatment unacceptable and a fundamental breach of my right as a citizen to exercise my democratic duty to vote without duress due to my disability status.

I would like a full explanation of why this happened and an assurance that this issue has been addressed, at this site and others listed as fully accessible on your website. If this cannot be guaranteed then I would ask that the status be downgraded to partially accessible.

I would appreciate a satisfactory response within five working days otherwise I will consider escalating the matter to the Human Rights Commission.

Thank you for your time.

Yours faithfully

PHILIP PATSTON

Article | Tux Hika

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