My Vote My Right: EC Has Made Many Efforts to Make These Elections Barrier-Free and Inclusive

The women have gathered at the Jagalikatte. Today, they have a guest – Jaya, who has come back from abroad to be able to vote in the upcoming elections. Vijaya from the Election Office speaks about facilitation services available at polling booths for people with disabilities, senior citizens and persons who are otherwise unable to commute. Also, for blind persons, election slips with candidate names on them will be provided and they can vote with their family member’s support. “If the election booth officer is informed about such needs, they will make arrangements for people to be picked up and be dropped back.” At the polling booths, drinking water and the first-aid box will also be available. All women decide to share the information learned at the Jagalikatte with the general public in the area they reside in.

Sanjeev Kumar
Chief Electoral Officer Karnataka

“During elections, at the polling stations, we will have water facility, medical facilities for emergencies, helpers for people with disabilities, sign interpreters and booth mirrors. People also can book vehicles from their home if they are unable to commute. Booth-level officers will take care of all of the above-mentioned things.”

Basavaraj
State Disability Commissioner, Karnataka

“In the Rights of Disability Act, 2016, it is mentioned that people with disability should vote and it is very important that they cast their vote. They can go on their own, or if they need help, people will be available. For people who cannot commute, vehicle support will be given. This time, the Election Commission has initiated an app and people can request for any facilities needed through it. Many may think that voting is not important, but in a Democracy, everyone’s vote counts and we have to cast one without fail. It will be an inspiration when higher numbers of people living with disabilities also come forward to vote.
For people with intellectual disabilities, like learning disabilities, the parents’ help will be needed. The parents should meet the booth officers and understand the procedure on how they can vote.”

“People who are blind will have to mention in advance that they need election slips printed in Braille.
Wheelchairs can also be requested at the polling booths.
People with disabilities can go directly and vote, instead of standing in a queue.

All facilities have been made in these elections, so I request everyone to go out and cast their vote.”

Dr. Priyanca Mathur
Associate Professor, Jain University
Center for Research and Social Sciences and Education, and Coordinator for the Center for Public Policy in Government

“Guided by the motto that no voter should be left behind, the Election Commission Officer has ordered that the election machinery in the state should arrange for transport and residence on the polling day to ensure voters’ participation in the process. It is very important to arrange facilities for them to reach the polling booths and if not, then counting their votes will be difficult.

Close to 3.5 lakh disabled persons have approached the chief electoral officer and they have been responding to all the queries. To make our elections more inclusive, the Commission has been reaching out to all vulnerable groups. Disability associations are conducting a survey in north Karnataka to assess the number of people living with disabilities. The Election Commission, for the first time ever, is also trying to have a polling booth handled exclusively by people with disabilities.”

The Election Commission has come up with ‘Assured Minimum Facilities’ (AMF). This is the link to the website: https://eci.gov.in/pwd/pwd-articles/assured-minimum-facilities/amf-assured-minimum-facilities-r4/

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