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EC trains visually impaired on use of tactile jacket

BY: Samuel Duodu, Damongo & Kwadwo Baffoe Donkor

Ahead of the December 7, 2020 polls, the Electoral Commission (EC) is training the visually-impaired on how to use the tactile ballot so as to encourage them to take part in the general election.

The training, which is being held throughout the country, is to enable the visually-impaired to cast their ballot on December 7, 2020 to choose the country’s leaders for the next four years.

Two tactile ballot jackets will be provided at each polling station for both the parliamentary and presidential elections.

Damongo

Taking participants through the training session in Damongo, the West Gonja Municipal Director of the EC, Mr Solomon Barnes Essuman, indicated that the vote of everyone, including the visually impaired, was very dear and important to the EC, hence the provision of a "tactile ballot jacket" to enable the visually impaired to vote independently.

He said all vulnerable persons, including pregnant women, the aged and Persons With Disability (PWDs), would be given preferential treatment on election day.

He, therefore, urged persons who might accompany vulnerable voters to voting centres to prompt presiding officers for priority to be given to them.

Mr Essuman took participants through how the tactile ballot jacket could aid them to cast their ballots personally or through their guides or presiding officers at the polling centres.

He urged them to turnout in their numbers to vote on December 7.

The President of Persons with Disabilities (PWDs), Mr Joshua Dramani Takora, expressed satisfaction with the training and commended the government for the initiative.

Kumasi

The Ashanti Regional Gender, Youth and Disability Desk Officer, Mrs Henrietta Chempe Sarpong, told the Daily Graphic that the objective of the training was to ensure the secrecy of the ballot of the visually impaired and the participation of all eligible voters in the elections.

She said the EC was committed to ensuring inclusive participation in the 2020 presidential and parliamentary elections by addressing the needs of persons with disabilities.

She said in all about 4000 visually impaired had been trained on the tactile jacket.

She said Article 42 of the 1992 Constitution “confers on every citizen the right to vote, irrespective of one's disability. The ballot should be in secret per the same constitution.

However, the secrecy of ballots for visually impaired voters is compromised because they mostly vote through assistance from either their aids or the presiding officers at the polling station.”