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  • International Good Practices (PwDs)

    1. 1

      Myanmar

      Voter Education for Accessible Elections in Myanmar  General Myanmar has a population of 56 million out of which 8.5 million  population of disabled people is estimated to be 8.5 million (as per the 15% estimate of the World Health Organization).Myanmar ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in December 2011. Myanmar made sustained efforts for inclusion in 2015 electoral process.  Voter Education   The Myanmar Independent Living Initiative (MILI) collaborated with the Union Election Commission (UEC) to develop an inclusive voter education posters, brochures, logo and pamphlets etc  that provide guidance and instructions for voters with disabilities and the public as such  on how to cast their ballot for October 2015 elections. Visuals with simple language and clear message help mitigate communication challenges that may occur especially for people with low literacy levels besides effectively addressing the problem of barriers to inclusion. Use of local language further helped in dissemination. These materials were used as a vital component of the Voter Education Campaign in 2015 elections in the country.  The initiative was supported by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Swiss Agency for development and Cooperation, and the United Kingdom department for International development (DFID).Some of the best practice materials are briefly mentioned step wise in the following:  Encouraging Everyone to Vote: The LOGO In support of the 2015 elections in Myanmar, UEC and the MILI developed a logo for a voter education campaign. Using a logo for a campaign allows voter education materials to be identified as part of a broader campaign and helps emphasize the importance of election accessibility. The logo was used on several voter education materials, including brochures and for voter education concert held in Myanmar.   Supporting the Right to Vote   As the 2015 election approached, UEC of Myanmar and MILI worked to create a campaign in advance, encouraging persons with disabilities to vote and participate in the election. The production of the poster was supported by IFES.    Encouraging citizens to register and vote   This poster was produced by the Myanmar UEC to encourage citizens including PwD’s to register and  vote. It was created 2015 elections with support from the IFES Citizens and voter registration   This poster was also produced by the Myanmar UEC with the support from IFES to encourage citizens to register to vote for 2015 elections  Registering to Vote   This poster provides information on how voters can submit a form to correct their voter registration information or to report that a registered voter may be ineligible to participate in elections. Guidelines for Voting    In support of the 2015 elections Myanmar UEC and MILI developed a brochure explaining the guidelines for accessible voting. The brochure was printed and distributed with support from the United Kingdom's DFID, the Australian government's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the IFES Providing Guidelines on How to Vote   In support of the 2015 elections the Myanmar UEC and MILI developed a brochure explaining the guidelines for voting. The brochure was printed and distributed with support from the United Kingdom's DFID the Australian government's DFAT, the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation and IFES.   Voting by Persons with Disabilities       MILI in collaboration with the UEC developed an inclusive voter education poster that provides instructions for men and women with disabilities on how to cast their ballot in October 2015 elections. The poster was produced with support from IFES, DFID and other agencies referred  to above. “get-out-the-vote concert”   During Myanmar’s historic 2015 election, MILI also organized a mobile “get-out-the-vote concert” with IFES’ support. This campaign presented a unique method to inform persons with disabilities about their right to vote and to encourage them to cast their ballots on Election Day.    For three days, MILI members drove around in an open-bed truck lined with voter education posters and a band of musicians with disabilities. The truck stopped in six towns where the band performed popular songs to gain the attention of persons in the neighborhood. After performing the first few songs at each location, MILI spoke to voters about the elections, providing information on voting and polling procedures as well as emphasizing how voting empowers citizens and allows them to have a voice in their country’s future.   Voter Education Pamphlets Distribution Campaign   During this time, volunteers also distributed 4,000 voter education pamphlets (discussed in the foregoing). The pamphlets outlined information on polling procedures for voters with disabilities and highlighted the different types of available assistance, step-by-step process of voting and illustrated the process with animations of voters with visual, hearing or physical disabilities.  Accessible Polling Stations MILI targeted towns that were among the 15 towns where the Union Election Commission (UEC) piloted more accessible polling stations on Election Day. At these polling stations, which were located near schools and hospitals, the UEC provided polling officials who had received disability access training from MILI and other DPOs. At these locations, voters with visual disabilities were also able to use Braille ballot guides when casting their ballots. These guides allowed voters who are blind to cast their ballot independently and in secret.   
    2. 2

      New Zealand

      New Zealand: Inclusive Voter Education, Disability Strategy and Initiatives for PwD’s Introduction All the New Zealand citizens have right to have their voice heard and as such, equal access to enrollment and voting at elections. In this context, the Electoral Commission of New Zealand provides efficient and effective electoral assistance in terms of enrollment and voting to persons with disabilities, aboriginals, other categories requiring voter assistance besides women. The initiatives of EC NZ are supported by the provisions of the Elections Act 1993 and the rules made under this Act.  Access 2020 Disability Strategy EC NZ has developed Access 2020 strategy taking into account the improvements made during last three elections and integrating them into a long time framework. Through this process, the Commission aims to identify and remove the barriers that the PwD’s face at the time of enrollment and exercising their right to vote. The focus of the disability strategy of EC NZ is to support persons with disabilities and their families ‘whanau and caregivers’ for participation in electoral process. Initiatives of EC NZ  EC NZ continued all of its initiatives from the 2011 general election through 2014. Main initiatives include the following:      information in accessible formats including Braille, large-print, audio format and screen reader files information and consultation opportunities in New Zealand Sign Language DVD resource kits and facilitation guides for voters with an intellectual disability Plain English resources including posters, booklets and DVDs    Special Voters  Special Voters Defined under the Law As provided under the electoral legislation of New Zealand, a person who is otherwise qualified to vote may vote as a special voter under inter alia the following conditions:   A person intends to be absent or is actually absent from the district on the day of polling; a person who intends to be outside or is actually outside New Zealand on the polling day; a person is unable to attend to vote at any polling place in the district by reason of illness, infirmity, pregnancy, or recent childbirth; a person is unable to vote on the polling day by reason of a religious objection; a person satisfies the Returning Officer or the issuing officer that on any other ground it will not be practicable for him to vote at a polling place in the district without incurring hardship or serious inconvenience.   Special vote can be cast only as per prescribed procedure under the law. Blind, Disabled or Illiterate Voters An elector who is wholly or partially blind or whether because of physical handicap or otherwise, unable to write or has severe difficulty in reading or writing, or is not sufficiently familiar with the English language to vote without assistance, can vote as per prescribed procedure under the Election laws of New Zealand. The law elaborates the procedure as well as the nature of assistance that may be provided to such voters. Provision of Telephone Dictation to Blind Voters EC NZ delivered telephone dictation voting to voters who are blind or visually impaired or have another disability with the result that they are unable to vote independently and in secret at the 2014 General Election.   Enrolling and Voting in Sign Language The election resources of EC NZ   provide information and guidance for enrolling and voting in New Zealand sign language for voters who require this assistance. Hospital Votes The electoral regulations define ‘Hospital Votes’ and provide for electoral assistance to a person who is a patient in any hospital, maternity home etc. Such persons have to apply for a special vote and the assistance is provided as per prescribed procedure to such applicants. Details of the Access 2020 disability strategy and other disability resources of the Electoral Commission, New Zealand can be accessed at its website for voter information, awareness and educative purposes   
    3. 3

      Paraguay

      Paraguay: Voter Education for Persons with Disabilities Introduction 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/)   VE Brochures  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/)    Learning about Assistive Voting Devices 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.     
    4. 4

      USA

      Inclusive Electoral Literacy in US   Introduction The rights of the voters with disabilities are duly protected under the     Legislative provisions of the Help America Vote Act (HAVA) and the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).  The Electoral Assistance Commissions has taken several initiatives in the light of said legal provisions to provide equal opportunity to the voters with disabilities in the matters of awareness, voter education and their engagement in the electoral process.  More than 35 million Americans with disabilities are eligible to vote. The US Election Assistance Commission (EAC) has a strong operational system backed by the legislation, infrastructure and technology to support and facilitate such PwD’s and commitment to ensure  that the election process, polling places and voting services are accessible for such voters.  Legislative Provisions under HAVA and ADA Section 241 of HAVA provides that the EAC shall, inter alia, conduct studies on studies on election administration issues to the ‘Methods of ensuring the accessibility of voting, registration, polling places, and voting equipment to all voters, including individuals with disabilities (including the blind and visually impaired), Native American or Alaska Native citizens, and voters with limited proficiency in the English language.’ The studies are made available to the public and are aimed at promoting effective administration of federal elections. The studies are used to develop a framework  most convenient, accessible, and easy to use for voters, including members of the uniformed services and overseas voters, individuals with disabilities, including the blind and visually impaired, and voters with limited proficiency in the English language;  will be nondiscriminatory and afford voters an equal opportunity to vote. The legislative provisions, studies and the framework referred to above also include ‘Methods of educating voters about the process of registering to vote and voting, the operation of voting mechanisms, the location of polling places, and all other aspects of participating in elections. The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and Help America Vote Act (HAVA) require that all Amer¬icans have the same opportunity to participate in the voting process, privately and independently.  Thus law provides equal opportunity to the voters with disabilities besides the voters from the marginalized sections. Voluntary Guidance on Voter Education for Electoral Process The U.S. Election Assistance Commission, in view of the mandate under Section311 of HAVA, has developed and adopted a series of voluntary guidelines for voter education and election management in collaboration with local election officials and consultative process envisaged under Section 311of HAVA. These guidelines provide valuable guidance on best practices in strengthening the voter education programmes besides managing efficient and effective elections. Voter education as such, has a significant impact on voter turnout. Well planned and well designed programmes do motivate and encourage electorate to   participate in the electoral process in an enlightened manner and in larger numbers.EAC provides cards for persons with disabilities for easy guidance (See Annex I) EAC’s ‘A Voter’s Guide to Federal Elections’ Voter Guides are highly informative and simple to read and cover all aspects of electoral process and available on EAC website. The guide is intended to help voters including those with disabilities or besides those from marginalized section to successfully navigate the Federal election process in a holistic manner from registering to vote through casting a ballot on Election Day. In addition to providing the basics of casting a ballot, this guide includes information on voter eligibility, early voting, alternative registration and voting processes for uniformed and overseas citizens, and polling place accommodation that make voting more accessible to all sections of voters. The voter guide is available in eleven languages: Cherokee, Chinese, Dakota, English, Japanese, Korean, Navajo, Spanish, Tagalog, Vietnamese, and Yupik so as to maximize the voter coverage from all sections of the society.. The Guides provide relevant links for helpful resources to voters on all matters relating to election process..  EAC Voter Guides are made available in the Election Resource Library of the EAC on its website. Relevant extract from Voter’s Guide relating to Voters with disability is given below:  “IS VOTING ACCESSIBLE FOR VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES? Most polling places are designed with accommodations to make the voting process more accessible to all voters, including those voters with disabilities. Accessibility accommodations include clearly marked parking spaces, entrances with ramps, and well-marked routes and signage indicating the way to voting locations. Polling places must have voting equipment that is accessible for individuals with disabilities, including non visual accessibility for the blind and visually impaired, in a manner that provides the same opportunity for access and participation (including privacy and independence) as for other voters. If you have questions about the accessibility of your polling place, or if you need information about voting equipment for individuals with disabilities, contact your State or local election office. (See list of Available Resources at the end of this guide.)” Accessible Voting Technology Initiative  The EAC’s Accessible Voting Technology Initiative (AVTI) supports accessibility research on transformative technologies and approaches. Through the AVTI, the EAC has produced over 45 solutions for assisting voters with disabilities. The initiatives include the EAC’s Military Heroes grant to provide assistance needed for recently injured military personnel to participate in elections.  EAC Voter Resources   One of EAC’s primary mandates under the Help America Vote Act is to serve as a central resource for information about elections. Through EAC’s national clearinghouse, the public including persons with disabilities can conveniently access  information on registering to vote and serving as a poll worker along with studies on how, where and when to vote. EAC maintains the National Mail Voter Registration Form (in seven languages), which can be used in any state to register to vote and update their registration information for a federal election. EAC also provides information on contact information for the state election offices. Resources for Voters may be listed as follows Register and Vote in Your State. National Mail Voter Registration Form Become a Poll Worker Overseas and Military Voters Voting Accessibility Election Calendar Election Resource Library Helpful Links  Voter Guides Social Media Sites of Election offices  The Electoral College   Resources for Voters with Disabilities This comprehensive list of resources for voters with disabilities includes links to voting accessibility laws and regulations and the latest best practices and research pertaining to voters with disabilities and elderly voters. EAC’s Resources: Quick Start Series EAC’s ‘6 Tips for Making Voting Accessible’  The EAC has collaborated with local election officials to develop a series of helpful tips for voter education and election management. This series provides ideas and suggests best practices to help run efficient and effective elections. See Annex II)   EAC’s ‘10 Tips for Voters with Disabilities’   Before you vote in the next election, know the voting process in your State. The following tips from the U.S. Election Assistance Commission examine the options available to help voters with disabilities vote privately and independently. These tips and examples can help to make voting accessible to everyone including inter alia the voters with a disability. (See Annex III) Voting Accessibility    EAC Commemorates the 25th Anniversary of Americans with Disabilities  Act  (ADA) by hearing ‘How to Make Voting More Accessible for Individuals with Disabilities’ The event was  intended to explore ways to make voting more accessible for individuals with disabilities. Commissioners heard testimony from accessibility advocates, experts, and individuals with disabilities regarding the progress made to ensure HAVA’s requirement that individuals with disabilities be given the same opportunity to vote freely and independently as other voters Commissioners met July 28, 2015 to commemorate the 25th Anniversary of ADA and explore ways to make voting more accessible for individuals with disabilities. Commissioners heard testimony from accessibility advocates, experts, and individuals with disabilities regarding the progress made to ensure HAVA’s requirement that individuals with disabilities be given the same opportunity to vote freely and independently as other voters.  Partnerships with non-partisans HAVA provides for partnerships with non-partisans for electoral assistance to PwD’s and marginalized sections of society. 

About Us

SVEEPSystematic Voters’ Education and Electoral Participation (SVEEP) is a programme of multi interventions through different modes and media designed to educate citizens, electors and voters about the electoral process in order to increase their awareness and participation in the electoral processes. SVEEP is designed according to the socio-economic, cultural and demographic profile of the state as well as the history of electoral participation in previous rounds of elections and learning thereof.   

Election Commission of India

ECIThe Election Commission of India is an autonomous constitutional authority responsible for administering election processes in India. The body administers elections to the Lok SabhaRajya Sabha, State Legislative Assemblies in India, and the offices of the President and Vice President in the country. The Election Commission operates under the authority of Constitution per Article 324, and subsequently enacted Representation of the People Act

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