[AI] Assembly polls: EVMs to have Braille option

Shadab Husain shadabhsn at gmail.com
Wed Apr 9 23:05:38 EDT 2008

Assembly polls: EVMs to have Braille option

Karnataka Bureau

— Photo: V. Sreenivasa Murthy

plea: Disabled people meeeting State Chief Electoral Officer M.N.
Vidyashankar in Bangalore on Wednesday.

BANGALORE: The Election Commission will issue directions to State
Chief Electoral Officer M.N. Vidyashankar to ensure that all
electronic voting machines
(EVMs) to be used in the Assembly elections in the State have a
Braille option. Over 50,000 EVMs will be used for polling in the

Chief Election Commissioner N. Gopalaswami told The Hindu that EVMs
with Braille option had been used in a few States.

"It should not be a problem to ensure that Braille number strips are
pasted on the EVMs to be used in the polling stations in Karnataka as
well," he said.

His reaction came following a petition by a delegation of Karnataka
Angavikalara Rajya Okkoota on Wednesday to Mr. Vidyashankar seeking a
Braille option
in the EVMs, and ramps for the disabled at polling booths.

"Now that this matter has been brought to our notice, suitable
directions will be issued. Visually impaired people need not be
dependant on any assistance
while voting," Mr. Gopalaswami said.

On the demand for ramps to enable disabled persons to get into polling
stations on their own, he said, "Polling stations will have ramps.
This is mandatory."

N.P. Ramachandra, Ramanagara district unit secretary of the okkoota
who met Mr. Vidyashankar, said that disabled persons were usually
manhandled by agents
of political parties.

"It hardly costs Rs. 5 to insert Braille features on the EVMs. But it
helps a visually challenged person to be independent of others while
making a choice,"
he said.


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