By Vincent Ujumadu
PERSONS With Disabilities, PWDs, in Anambra State has called on the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, to take its members into consideration while planning for the November the election.
At a campaign on equal voting access for PWDs in Awka, the leadership of the Centre for Citizens with Disabilities, CCD, a non-governmental organization, urged the electoral umpire to standardise its collection of PWD data in pre-election and Election Day processes to ensure effective participation of voters with different forms of disabilities.
Essentially, the group is asking INEC to budget for and provide written instructions to explain Election Day procedures to hearing impaired voters in the short term and provide sign language interpretation in the long term. It also called for the provision of Braille ballots or assistive Tactile to enable visually impaired voters to independently participate in voting in the poll.
According to the group, “INEC should carefully choose the location of polling units to ensure that they were accessible for PWDs by locating polling units on flat surfaces as opposed to corridors, especially where ramps and handrails were yet to be provided.”
President of the group, Mr. David Anyaele argued that the right to participate in an election was an indispensable component of participatory democracy, adding that the right to vote provides a unique opportunity for citizens to influence the policies that affect their lives.