Paraguay: Voter Education for Persons with Disabilities
Paraguay has total Population of 6.8 million of which, population with a disability is estimated at 1million (as per World Health Organization’s 15% estimate). Paraguay ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities on 03 September 2008 and as such recognizes equal access to the persons with a disability for electoral process including voting rights.
Accommodations for Persons with Disabilities
The Supreme Tribunal of Electoral Justice (STEJ) has done a pioneering work for voter education for PwD’s. In this endeavor the STEJ has taken several initiatives in collaboration with civic society organizations. Some of these are listed as below:
VE for PwD’s through Posters
In 2015, with assistance from Fundación Saraki and the United States Agency for International Development, the produced a large poster to explain the different types of election accommodations available for people with visual, hearing, intellectual, physical and psychosocial disabilities.During the municipal elections in November 2015, STEJ also produced and distributed posters with large photos and clear instructions to assist/ support all voters, including those with disabilities, in understanding the voting process on Election day
VE Accessible Voting Guide
In 2015, Fundaciόn Saraki, a Paraguay organization dedicated to supporting the rights of persons with disabilities and their access to elections produced ‘The Accessible Voting Guide’, which carries a message "a disability doesn't take away the right to vote" on the cover, explains step-by-step instructions to vote, as well as recommendations to make voting processes more accessible to persons with disabilities. This voter education guide educates and informed persons with disabilities of the regulations in Paraguay that support voters with disabilities. (Details may be seen at http://www.saraki.org/)
Fundaciόn Saraki, a Paraguayan organization dedicated to supporting rights of persons with disabilities, produced a number of brochures on access to elections. The brochures aim at providing learning information on assistive devices for PwD’s. This resource also elaborates description for the process of voting at home, including who is eligible to do so. (Details may be seen at http://www.saraki.org/)
During municipal elections held in Paraguay in November 2015, STEJ provided the polling places with a poster that described different accessibility resources available for persons with disabilities. It included a magnifying glass for voters with low vision, a Braille template and instructions for using it in Braille, a pencil grip for voters with reduced mobility in their hands, instructions with graphics and in sign language for voters who were Deaf or hard-of-hearing, as well as priority waiting for pregnant women, nursing mothers and older adults.
Edited by ECI