[AI] Article in TOI 9 July 2018

Kanchan Pamnani kanchanpamnani at gmail.com
Thu Jul 12 03:43:55 EDT 2018

Election Commission eyes voting-from-home for disabled

Bharti Jain
| TNN | Jul 9, 2018, 06:15 IST


[image: TNN photo used for representation]*TNN photo used for

NEW DELHI: As theElection Commission
<https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/Election-Commission>focuses on
making polls more accessible for differently-abled voters, it has offered
to look at alternative voting methods for persons with disabilities (PwDs),
including advance voting or early voting, voting from home
<https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/voting-from-home>, postal vote,
transport assistance or mobile polling station concept, provided these do
not compromise the sanctity and secrecy of vote.

As per the strategic framework finalised at the national consultation
on accessible
elections <https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/topic/accessible-elections>
by EC last week, the commission also agreed to examine the scope and need
for legislative measures to enhance electoral participation of
physically-challenged people.

The framework — based on the premise of ‘no voter to be left behind’ — was
drawn up in consultation with representative of national parties,
government ministries/departments, disability experts and civil society
organisations. The EC will examine the feasibility of allowing persons with
disabilities to vote before general voting hours so as to save them the
trouble of having to queue up. The possibility of extending the postal
ballot facility to differently-abled people will also be weighed. Also,
persons with disabilities, who will be mapped by the EC constituency and
polling station-wise, may be facilitated with transportation to the polling
station or could be allowed to vote at mobile polling stations in the days
to come.

Some of these measures may require amendments to election laws or conduct
of election rules. The EC will also ensure that special measures aimed at
boosting participation of physically-challenged voters meet the essential
requirements of sanctity and secrecy of vote.

The EC had last week announced steps aimed at better involvement of
differently-abled voters in the electoral process. This included printing
of electoral photo identity cards in Braille, mobile app to educate and
motivate voters with disabilities, sign language window for deaf voters and
free transport facility for them along with their assistants.

The commission will be taking further steps including identifying barriers
to participation of disabled voters and finding solutions, mapping of PwDs
through mapping or initial voter registration, customised voter education
to cater to different requirements of PwDs, developing user-friendly
websites for PwDs of different categories, engaging the help of government
and civil society organisations for capacity building and constitution of
special committees on accessible elections.

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