Casual discrimination

TW: incidental discrimination, ableism

So today I collected my mail, and there was a letter from the ATO.


I can’t remember when the election was, just that I wasn’t allowed to work there because of the not-talking-thing. They offered me a position, but weren’t making accommodations for the not-talking and the not-able-to-walk-around-for-fourteen-hours, so they said it was a mistake.


The reason I don’t remember when the election was is that it was months ago. Everyone’s been sworn in, Parliament is sitting (in a manner of speaking), and what’s done is, unfortunately, done.


I wasn’t sure why I was getting a letter now, so I opened it while waiting to collect my parcels.


Apparently, they felt the need to inform me that my postal vote wasn’t counted because they couldn’t verify my signature was mine.

So, like, I was allowed a postal vote, because, you know, people who can’t attend a polling place because of their illness or disability get postal votes. I marked that on the application. But my vote was then not counted for the precise reason that I was given a postal vote – because of my disability.


I don’t know why I can’t write now. I do my best to sign stuff, which generally involves using both hands to put the pen in one fist and then moving my whole arm to make shapes, which still come out backwards and somewhat awkward. Like I did my best to sign the form.


Apparently my best wasn’t good enough. But you know, when I could write? I was allowed to fill out the voting papers for my grandmother, who couldn’t write because she couldn’t see the form. I’m not the only person who can’t write, and that’s before taking into account literacy as a factor.


I can’t help but feel that discarding my vote because someone couldn’t decide if my signature was mine is inadvertently discriminating against people who, like, have trouble writing, specifically due to disability in some form. The policy, as far as I remember it from the form, is that if you can’t write you still have to make your mark.


So basically, anyone who has a signature that doesn’t clearly spell their name, whether they have a medical condition that affects their writing, have low literacy and/or are ESL, doesn’t get to vote? Really? Because someone in a room somewhere decided their signature wasn’t good enough? The implications are probably bigger than I can think of right now. I mean, what if someone has a name that the person deciding these things doesn’t recognise, so they put it aside because they can’t tell if it’s meant to look like that?


And what took so long, anyway? Why even tell me? If my vote was done at a booth, and it got thrown out there, because they couldn’t read it, they wouldn’t tell me. So why even bother? It’s not like I can appeal it now, or verify my identity and have my vote magically count, when the election is so far past decided that laws are being passed…


Naturally, if I have any questions, they say to call them. *headdesk*


Imagine what would have happened if everyone’s votes actually counted.