Commission has directed that during ongoing special summary revision, special camps may be organized for PwDs on weekends on such locations where they can easily approach and inspect the draft roll or submit their claims and objections in a hassle free manner. These locations can be Schools for Blinds, schools for Deaf, Leprosy centres etc. Special arrangements may be made to aid such electors during the camps such as providlng the services scribes, deployment of staff conversant with sign language and other basic amenities. Advance Publicity may be made for such camps,dates & venue.
General, Police and Expenditure Observers nominated to be deployed in the State of Chhattisgarh were briefed by Commission on 12th October at New Delhi. They were briefed on their role in the General Elections to the State Assembly which shall be held in two phases on 12th and 20th November. The counting for all the five states will be held on December 11, 2018.
The Observers are being deployed
Observers are deployed to assist the Commission in conduct of free and fair polls. They are required to oversee the efficient and effective management of the electoral process at the field level. For all purposes, they act as the eyes and ears of the Commission during the period of the election and provide direct inputs to the Commission from the field as an interface with the election machinery the candidates, political parties, and electors to ensure that the Acts, rules, procedures, instructions and guidelines related to elections are strictly and impartially complied with by all concerned.
Observers of the Election Commission of India are appointed under the powers conferred on it by Section 20B of the Representation of the People Act, 1951 and the plenary powers available to the Commission under the Constitution of India. They are the appointees of the Commission working under the superintendence, control and discipline of the Commission for the period from their appointment until the process of election is completed.
Chhattisgarh - 12th and 20th November (2 phases)
Madhya Pradesh - 28th November
Mizoram - 28th November
Rajasthan - 7th December
Telangana - 7th December
An innovative ‘bottom up’ approach of booth level planning and management has been implemented in the 5 States where Booth Level plans for Polling Stations have been prepared containing all information and Standard Operating Procedures (SOP) for response to ensure smooth conduct of elections at each Polling Station. VVPATs shall be used with the EVMs in all the polling stations. The Commission has also mandated that VVPAT slip count of one randomly selected Polling Station in each Assembly Constituency by the Returning Officer by Draw of Lot in presence of all candidates shall be done for verification of the result obtained from the Control Unit. Thus, VVPAT paper slips of one polling station in each Assembly Constituency will be counted in these States.
Voter Facilitation Centres have been activated in all the districts to facilitate voters. Special campaign including hands on experience, has been undertaken on EVM & VVPAT awareness starting September 2018 in view of VVPATs being used for the first time in the Assembly Elections in these states. In addition to that, short awareness film on VVPAT has been developed and widely disseminated through Cinemas, Cable TV besides Social Media including whatsapp besides others.
The Model Code of Conduct comes into effect immediately with the announcement. ECI has launched c-VIGIL Android Mobile Application where ‘cVIGIL’ denotes ‘Vigilant Citizen’ . Using the application, vigilant citizens can send live reports on incidents of MCC violation within minutes of having witnessed them. The violations could be reported from the date of announcement of elections to a day after the polls without going to the office of the Returning Officer in their assembly constituency.
To ensure participation of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) in the election process, special initiatives have been rolled out ahead of these elections to facilitate persons with disabilities for enrolment as well as on poll day. Besides making awareness material accessible, extending EPIC in Braille for blind electors, sensitization of polling officials and making polling station accessible, electors with disabilities are being mapped Polling Station wise so that requisite facilitation can be extended on poll day. PwD electors shall be extended pick and drop facility on poll day to help them exercise their franchise. The Commission has also directed to issue Accessible Photo Voter Slips with Braille Features to Persons with Visual Impairment or Blind.
Voter Guide (in Vernacular / English) shall be handed over to every household ahead of the elections, giving information about the date and time of polls, contact details of the BLOs, important websites, helpline numbers, documents required for identification at the polling station besides other important information including the Do’s and Don’ts for voters at the polling station. This Voter Guide Brochure will be distributed along with the Photo Voter Slips by the BLOs.
Detailed Press note at https://eci.nic.in/eci_main1/Current/PN_06102018.pdf
Commission allocates equitable time for campaigning on electronic media through Prasar Bharati Corporation to recognised National and State Parties. The time slots allocated for the ensuing General Elections to the State Assembly of Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Mizoram and Rajasthan is detailed out in the press note.
Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi-110001
No. ECI/PN/48/2018 Date: 4th July, 2018
Election Commission of India unveils Strategic Framework on Accessible Elections
National Parties, Ministry Officials, Disability Field Experts and CSOs attend Day 2 of National Consultation on Accessible Elections
Two days National Consultation on Accessible Electionsorganised by Election Commission of India concluded today in New Delhi. Delivering his concluding remarks, Chief Election Commissioner Shri O P Rawat announced a series of measures for facilitation of PwDs, which are as follows:
Printing of EPIC (Electors Photo Identity Card) with Braille for Persons with Visual Impairment or Blind, Accessible Communication Awareness Materials A Mobile Application to motivate and educate Appointment of Disability Coordinators at AC, District and State Level Cascaded training on Accessibility to Poll officials Auxiliary Polling Stations Accessible Photo Voter Slips Sign Language window in all the audio visual training and advertisement content material for the convenience of deaf persons Free Transport Facility for PwDs and their Assistants A new Accessible Division in India International Institute of Democracy and Electoral Management (IIIDEM), New Delhi
CEC Shri O P Rawat and ECs Shri Sunil Arora and Shri Ashok Lavasa facilitating Persons with Visual Impairment with Braille enabled EPIC card
Chief Election Commissioner Shri O P Rawat stated that a review of the program will take place in the next three months. Election Commissioner Shri Sunil Arora said, “We should go far beyond the bureaucratic measures to overcome the barriers. Technology has the capability to fill the gaps and it shall be explored to its fullest potential. Election Commissioner Shri Ashok Lavasa remarked that the set of recommendations received from the Consultation will be examined properly and efforts will be made to implement the same in a time bound manner. The Commission also facilitated two blind voters with Braille enabled EPIC Cards marking the first step towards this initiative.
The fruitful and meaningful deliberations held during the two day consultation resulted in a comprehensive “Strategic Framework on Accessible Elections” which will help in making electoral process more accessible in the forthcoming State and National Elections. The Framework includes 14 important parameters; Identification of Barriers and respective solutions, Voter registration and polling, Inclusive Voter Education, Leveraging Technology for Accessible Elections, Research and Knowledge Sharing, Role of Partner Departments, Educational Institutions, CSOs, Volunteers and Media, Training and sensitisation of Staff, Alternative Voting Methods, Legislative Initiatives and Special four tiered Committees on Accessible Elections.
The Commission unveiling Strategic Framework on Accessible Elections
The Consultation was the culmination of more than 3-month long series of District and State Level Workshops undertaken as a part of ECI’s theme for the year- 2018, Accessible Elections-to identify barriers/gaps in the inclusion of PwDs in the electoral process, assess the present accessibility policies in place and put forward recommendations for addressing barriers to enhance the participation of the differently-abled.
STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK ON ACCESSIBLE ELECTIONS
4th July 2018
Nirvachan Sadan, Ashoka Road, New Delhi – 110001
STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK ON ACCESSIBLE ELECTIONS
The Election Commission of India works on the premise of ‘No voter to be left behind’ and is committed toinclusion of all categories of voters in the electoral process to achieve the desired objective of universal adult suffrage as per its constitutional mandate. The Commission is committed to building an equal access framework for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) supported by the fundamentals of responsiveness, respect and dignity to enhance elector confidence among them; and support initiatives for improved service offerings to enhance their electoral participation.
The Strategic Framework on Accessible Elections is built around sensitization through education and training, community involvement of different sections of society, effective partnership with institutions and originations and creation of facilities to cater to the specific needs of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) with a view to increasing their participation. The Strategic Framework shall inter alia include the following components:
1. Barriers: Continuous Identification and Solutions
Identifying barriers and finding solutions to the same has to be a continuous process. A system of regular, periodic feedback shall be taken up. Well designed approach with strategic interventions including technology integration can help in obliterating barriers.
2. Voter Registration & Polling
Database on PwDs, identified through mapping or initial voter registration, shall be efficiently and effectively used for follow up steps in the electoral process and the monitoring system for feedback, evaluation and consolidation. Polling stations shall be made accessible to all Persons with disabilities based on mapping of PwD electors and their specific needs
3. Inclusive Voter Education
Customised voter education to cater to the different requirements of PwDs shall be taken up to empower them for electoral participation. All voter education content shall be accessible format. Focussed and need based interventions shall be taken up under ECI’s flagship voter education programme SVEEP to engage PwDs and also to sensitise their friends, families, polling officials, security officials and all other stakeholders.
4. Leveraging Technology for Accessible Elections
This would essentially include (i)User friendly websites for PwDs of different categories. (ii) Accessible Technological Tools for facilitating PwDs of different categories to cast their vote (iii) Solutions for assisting voters with disabilities through technological innovation, research and integration. (iv) Accessible Media including Social Media Communications.
5. Research, Study and Knowledge sharing
A continuous search for best practices, international and domestic, through detailed study and research on all areas of participation by PwDs and sharing of experiences to help formulate enabling policies and interventions, to aid, assist and facilitate the participation of PwDs.
6. Role of Partner Departments
To explore and build partnership and commitment with Ministries and Departments to evolve and carry forward the interventions to electoral participation of PwDs.
7. Role of Educational Institutions
The Commission has already issued directions for setting up of Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELCs) in educational institutions etc. Setting up of ELCs in educational institutions dedicated to the PwDs shall be expedited and the ELC resources shall customised to match disability requirements.
8. Role of CSOs
To assess the potential of CSO’s and assign specific role in assisting equal access and capacity building through well designed partnerships. CSO’s potential to build partnerships should be utilised subject to their non partisan nature.
9. Role of Media
utilise the potential of Media in taking forward voter education and to engage PwD’s for increasing their electoral participation. Media can actively contribute to an effective and successful integration of persons with disabilities in the electoral process.
10. Poll Volunteers
Poll volunteers from among future voters can organised from educational institutions, and Chunav Pathshala, (ELCs for Communities) and trained to assist PwDs, besides from among NCC/NSS/NYKS and other non-partisan voluntary groups. The initiative will be subject to provisions of Rule 49N.
11. Training and Sensitization of Staff
Training and sensitization of the election is important so that they are empathetic to the needs of PwD voters. The training shall be factored into regular training to the staff as also for the registration and facilitation of the PwDs.
12. Alternative Voting methods
Alternative voting methods like advance voting or early voting, voting from home, Postal vote, transport assistance to PwDs or mobile polling station concept shall be looked at without compromising on the essential requirements of sanctity and secrecy of vote.
13. Legislative Initiative
The scope of assistance to PwDs for participation is wide and diverse. Need for legislation shall be examined for enhancing electoral participation of the PwDs.
14. Special 4 tiered Committees on Accessible Elections
Committees shall be formed at National, State, District and Assembly Constituency level with members from departments as well as stakeholders to review implementation of the directions of the Commission on ‘Accessible Elections’.
2. Accordingly, all CEOs are requested to launch the ELCs in identified institutions on the 8th National Voters' Day. To begin with, as a pilot, the Schools where NEQ had been conducted may be identified as the first set of Schools for setting up of the ELCs. The launch may be accompanied by a simple activity to be decided by the CEO or concerned DEOs/EROS e.g. components of the Interactive School Engagement(lSEJ, drawing debate etc
3. A workshop was conducted on ELC in January in which some States were invited. The resource material prepared for ELC at ECI was shared with all CEOs and a Video Conference was also conducted by Sr DEC(US) on the subject and for comments on resource material. The inputs gathered in the workshop and during the VC are being incorporated and the resource material is being finalised.
4. The Training of State Master Trainers shall be held in February at ECI on these resources, CEOs are therefore requested to urgently send the data sought on numbers of ELCs identified for roll out in Phase-l and details of State Master Trainers sought vide letter dated 2nd |anuary 201,8. 5. Funds to the tune of Rs 13 crore have been specifically earmarked for States/UTs for establishing ELCs and accordingly, CEOs and DEOs may draw their training calendars and plan the ELC roll out.