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  1. 54 downloads

    Best Electoral Practices Awards-2021-reg.
  2. 5 downloads

    Best Electoral Practices Award, 2021-reg.
  3. 0 downloads

    International webinar on the theme 'Enhancing Electoral Participation of Women, PwDs and Sr. Citizens Best Practices and New Initiatives-reg.
  4. 92 downloads

    The latest issue 4 (Volume IV) of Voice International carries valuable experiences of various Election Management Bodies on ‘New technology initiatives for voter friendliness and ease of elections.
  5. 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.
  6. January 25, celebrated as the National Voters’ Day (NVD) witnesses focused festivities at every polling station location across the country reverberating with the celebration of democracy and cores of Indians rejoicing their right to vote. NVD aims at increasing enrolment of voters, especially newly eligible young voters (18-19 years old) and ensures universal adult franchise for all, celebrated with gusto since 2011 on January 25, the foundation day of Election Commission of India (January 25, 1950). After a fruitful year dedicated to ‘Accessible Election’, this year marks the 9th National Voters’ Day with theme ‘No Voter to Be Left Behind’ ahead of Lok Sabha 2019 Election. Awards for Excellence, Proficiency and Innovation in election processes and procedures are being conferred on National Voters’ Day. These awards recognize contribution by election machinery, Government department/Agency/PSU/CSO and media in the year 2018. While State Awards are being presented in the NVD functions at State Headquarters, the National Awards are being presented at the national function in Delhi. 1. BEST ELECTORAL PRACTICES AWARD for Inclusive Voter Education & Outreach to Ms. Aarti Dogra, DEO Ajmer, Rajasthan for taking innovative measures in voter education and outreach and ensuring accessibility for all and systematically working towards inclusive election in the district during the State Assembly Election 2018 • BLOs were made responsible for providing assistance to and motivating all the differently abled voters at their booth • Divyang raths (15 or more vehicles) allotted to each constituency for bringing the PWDs to the booth • 150 vehicle coordinators appointed for each divyang rath • Provided 874 wheel chairs with 2 wheel chairs at every Gram panchayat • 17000 PwD voters came to their respective booths and took ‘Matdan Shapath’ and made a record by the India Book • Tricolour flag was formed by around 15000 students with special features of formation of Ashoka Chakra by differently abled children, as another record Outcome: 59.88% voter turnout of PwD voters in the District 2. BEST ELECTORAL PRACTICES AWARD for Election Management to Shri Vikas Singh, DEO Dhalai, Tripura for taking comprehensive steps including use of IT for smooth conduct of elections and facilitating informed participation of people in the district through intensive awareness campaign during the State Assembly Election 2018 3. BEST ELECTORAL PRACTICES AWARD for Security Management to Shri Mohit Garg, SP Bijapur, Chhattisgarh for comprehensive security management to create a conducive climate for conducting free, fair and participative election with particular focus on vulnerable sections in the district during the State Assembly Election 2018 4. BEST ELECTORAL PRACTICES AWARD for Innovative Measures to Dr Manzir Jeelani, DEO Wokha, Nagaland for taking innovative steps to facilitate wider participation of people in the district during the State Assembly Election 2018 5. BEST ELECTORAL PRACTICES AWARD for Voter Education & Outreach to Shri Ashish Saxena, DEO Jhabua, Madhya Pradesh for innovative measures to educate and reach out to voters and facilitate their participation leading to increased participation of Women in the district during the State Assembly Election 2018 6. SPECIAL AWARD for CPF Coordination presented to Shri Vijay Kumar, IG CRPF for coordinating the deployment of Central Police Forces for providing safe and secure environment for smooth conduct of elections in the nine States during the General Elections to State Assemblies in 2018. 7. SPECIAL AWARD for Movement of Forces to Indian Railways For facilitating smooth movement of election material and a large number of personnel including Security Forces and Observers deployed on election duty for smooth conduct of elections in the nine States during the General Elections to State Assemblies in 2018. 8. SPECIAL AWARD for Accessible Election to Ms B Shailaja, Director, Welfare of Persons with Disabilities and Senior Citizens, Telangana for taking special drive towards making election process accessible to all persons with disabilities as well as senior citizens in the States during the State assembly Election 2018. 9. AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE TO STATES to Chhattisgarh for comprehensive measures for Election Management including a series of innovative measures for voter awareness, purification of rolls, security management, efficient use of technology for voter facilitation resulting in high voter turnout during State Assembly Election 2018. 10. AWARD FOR EXCELLENCE TO STATES to Karnataka for comprehensive measures for Election Management including a series of innovative measures for voter awareness, purification of rolls, efficient use of technology for Accessibility and voter facilitation resulting in increased voter turnout during State Assembly Election 2018. 11. Award for Excellence to States to Meghalaya for outstanding campaign for voter education under SVEEP and effective outreach measures and in forging effective partnerships for voter awareness in the State Assembly Election 2018 12. National CSO Award for Best Campaign on Accessibility to Aarushi Society, Madhya Pradesh for taking up measures for accessibility by organizing district level workshops, developing accessible voter awareness material and wide dissemination of these material during the State Assembly Election 2018. Electronic Media (Television) Category IBC24 News (Sawal Aapka Hai ) Satellite News Channel for its outstanding work focusing on voter awareness and motivating the native electors of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh regions of India. The channel telecast news stories and conducted direct public engagement program sensitizing and educating electors in Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh regions throughout the poll period during State Assembly Elections 2018.
  7. 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.
  8. (2013) Inclusion of for Persons with Disabilities (PwD) According to the 2011 census, India has around 70 million people with disabilities. Election commission made special efforts in provincial elections since 2013 and the national elections to make the elections inclusive and extended extra facilitation for persons with disabilities and also for old and infirm. The Cuttack administration took the challenge of mainstreaming PwD electors and enhancing their participation in the electoral process. A survey of PwDs, conducted through Anganwadi Workers (AWWs) in October-November 2013 wherein 46,989 numbers of PwDs including children, had been enlisted. Out of the above list, PwDs aged above 18 years were shortlisted which numbered 20,208. Single Window Camps for PwDs were conducted in all the Blocks and Urban bodies. In all these camps, an exclusive counter was set up to enrol PwD in the Electoral Roll. A special meeting was conducted by District Election Officer, Cuttack to draw up an action plan for arrangements to be made for electors with disability. Representative from Association of PwDs was also present. Strategy was evolved with clear tasks; targets, assigned to officers. The District Election Office unanimously set a goal to achieve 100 % voting by PwD electors as a matter of their right. One district level Unit and 14 Block level monitoring controls rooms were opened for the purpose. The Block level control room acted as a Call-Centre. Every PwD voter was called at least thrice over his phone & explained the facilities made available at booths. It was decided to provide at least two volunteers to every polling booth to assist PwDs. Measures like barrier free access to each of the polling stations with construction of permanent or temporary ramps, deployment of Wheel chairs at all booths, disabled friendly furniture in Polling booth, Provision of Signature Guide, Provision of special queue for priority casting of votes, Lay-out Design for Hearing-impaired, Engagement of sign language interpreter for the Hearing Impaired, Printing of Braille Ballot papers were under-taken. Awareness generation was undertaken through various methods & media. Voters’ Guide in vernacular language, on the voting rights and facilities for PwD voters was distributed. To motivate PwD electors & boost the morale of their family members, Household Contact programme was conducted for 10 days. The Anganwadi workers visited the household of PwD voters & handed over awareness material. The family members were explained regarding the arrangements made to boost their morale. Gathering information about PwDs in the district posed to be one of the huge challenges. The task of reaching out to PwD voters for awareness purposes with a 100% accuracy and efficiency proved to be a tough task. Moreover means of awareness used themselves posed a challenge as the same medium couldn’t be used for every PwD voter. Awareness campaigns, Audio/Video, Print media, Posters, special logistics at the polling booths for the convenience of voters was initiated. The Cuttack administration was able to reach 88.30% of the total PwD population in its district, the highest ever.
  9. Sitapur - Differently-abled crowned as ‘Loktantra Doot’ (Messengers of democracy) District Sitapur in Uttar Pradesh took a novel initiative for the differently-abled voters in the District. District Magistrate (DM) and District Election Officer (DEO), Sitapur, took this worth-appreciating enterprise with an aim to motivate the differently-abled to come out and vote during the General Elections to the Lok Sabha 2014. The strategy to involve the differently-abled was charted out to make them feel as much part of elections and democracy as rest of us. A painting/ poster competition of differently-abled was held at the District headquarters, which witnessed huge participation from all over the District. Titled ‘Mera mat bhi dega lokTantra ko naya aayam aur majbooti’, this competition witnessed a participation of over 4,000 differently-abled. Many of them painted about the rights and duty of differently-abled. The posters showed the differently-abled reaching the booth and voting or a differently-abled smiling as he shows-off the mark on his finger with pride. These posters were then displayed at each polling booth of Sitapur District. “It feels so good that we have been specially invited by District administration. We are not less than anyone else and we will surely vote,” said Ramlal, who walks to the polling station with an aid. A digital diary of all differently-abled voters was also created containing detail of each differently-abled in the District. The BLO and the District Control room were in touch with them throughout the SVEEP campaigning till the poll day. It was also decided that there would be no-queue for the differently-abled. Focus was given on the families where both the spouse was differently abled. In addition to this, about 3000 differently-abled persons were chosen from the District with each one representing their polling booth. Hence each one of the 3,000 polling booth in the District had a ‘Booth Ambassador’. They were crowned as the ‘Loktantra-doot’ . This added to their prestige and gave them immense confidence. This was followed by a grand ceremony wherein all the 3,000 Loktantra-doot were brought on motorcycles, which were termed as ‘Loktantra- vahan’. The rally of motorcycles with the differently-abled as the pillion-rider drew maximum cheers from the crowd. Then, the Loktantra-doot were further motivated and inspired to turn into emissary for elections by the then CEO of U.P.
  10. State-wide practices For their election held in 2014, Maharashtra ensured that a few things were taken care of when it came to facilitating the Persons with Disabilities in the State. Across the State, Maharashtra employed the following good practices – Special camps for awareness and education of PwDs about electoral processes were organized in various districts. Government departments, NSS, NCC, NYKS, Scouts and Guides, and NGOs/CSOs were roped in as partners for the special camps PwD Icons were appointed in various districts to appeal to PwDs and urge them to involve themselves in the electoral process. The State election machinery was sensitized through intensive training programmes that made them ready to handle any situation at hand. Investment was made in the production and distribution of accessible awareness resources to educate and inform PwDs about electoral processes.
  11. Electoral Inclusion - Participation of “Special Voters” District administration launched a mission “Rehbar” in collaboration with District Red Cross Society under SVEEP for providing home to booth services for aged, differently abled, aged and informed. A village wise survey was done and such special voters were identified. A list of 1048 differently voters were drawn and each voter was assigned one assistant from same polling booth area for facilitating movement to and from polling booth. Later, more such voters were added after the scheme was publicizes and additional voters turned up for availing assistance. Tricycles were hired for 43 polling stations, 21 vehicles were pressed into action for ferrying differently abled voters and their nominated attendants. In all 1506 such persons were facilitated to polling booths and back to their residences. In a record of sorts 114 centurions participated in the polls. Booth Level Officers were provided assistance allowance for managing Palkies and Ponnies in hilly areas for such special needy voters. The survey was earlier done through BLOs and Anganwadi workers in all 259 villages and list of all such voters was drawn which was followed by assigning one persons for assistance to each such voter and providing assistance allowance as well as arrangements. Special measures were put in place at all 53 Model Polling Stations for special voters and warm welcome was extended besides all services provided for their travel from homes to polling booths. This was made possible through a community based exercise. Out of these 1506 voters 1389 are differently abled or physically handicapped; out of 1389 such voters 986 reported to have never voted citing physical inability as majored reason and in some cases they had not enrolled earlier. Of these 614 were newly enrolled voters however they were already in age group of 25-80 and in some cases beyond that as well. At all 301 Polling stations “Special Voters’ Assistance Booth” was established in addition to general assistance booth and women voters’ assistance booth, to facilitate the special voters. District achieved 100% participation of differently abled, aged, centurions, sick and infirmed.
  12. An Action Plan for TNLA 2016 In Tamil Nadu, a special campaign for PwDs was organised. Following initiatives were taken. Preparation and collection of polling station wise differently-abled people details. The details include the EPIC card number, the type of disability, the kind of assistance required during and before the polling day and telephone number Use of a dedicated phone number coupled with 1950 to facilitate on call enrolment. Indication of differently-abled voters in the electoral roll Braille enabled voter slips Volunteers to be deployed to facilitate enrolment in orphanages and homes Activities conducted during Awareness phase Preparation of volunteers tagging software called as “Enable Pondy by Young Pondy” to offer a basket of services to the differently-abled people by the volunteers including college students, Red Cross Members and NGOs. Conduct of cultural programmes (constituency-wise) in a phase manner to increase the morale and awareness level of the differently-abled voters. Conduct of Differently abled Voters Day Awareness messages in the form of posters and stickers to be Braille enabled. Video awareness messages shall be prepared with sign language interpretation. Motivational SMS to all the differently-abled voters every week. Constitution of differently-abled activist groups to act as volunteers to monitor the implementation of initiatives at the Polling Station level. Confidence Building Measures (CBM) by distributing awareness material through volunteers. Polling Day Arrangements: Provision of permanent sturdy ramp with handrails ( 3” width, gradient of 1:12 to 1:10) , Wheelchair, Wide non-slippery path. Separate queue for senior citizens and differently abled people, seating arrangements inside the Polling Station. Ensuring 3 feet wide doorways at the entry and exit points, providing adequate space inside the Poll Station. Desk and counters at wheel chair accessible height Ballot sheet and EVMs should be in Braille Braille Enabled Voters Slips The table where the EVMs placed shall be of adjustable height To provide amplifiers for hearing impaired, sign language Interpreters and trained volunteers on the Poll Day Drinking water facility at accessible height Easily accessible rest rooms, Thank You cards Specific Initiatives Sensitisation of BLOs and all election facilities on the importance and sensitivity of addressing the needs of the differently-abled voters was initiated. Website of the Election Department was linked with that of the Social Welfare Department to facilitate data sharing.
  13. Creating an Accessible Experience Wide open entrance doors at polling stations, signage and tactile guides in the pathway to polling rooms, wheelchairs, separate queue arrangements, comfortable seating arrangements, easily accessible rest rooms – these are some provision that Puducherry made to create a more accessible election experience for Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) . Student volunteers were drafted to provide one to one service. Well-lit polling stations with large signage, volunteers were arranged for blind electors. Apart from this, a novel web-based initiative called “ENABLED PONDY” having polling station-wise details of PwDs with their EPIC number, the type of disability and kind of assistance required during and before the polling day, telephone number etc, was introduced. Under this- The volunteers made a complete survey to capture the requirements of people with disabilities on the Poll Day. The web application tagged automatically the particular volunteer to the corresponding persons with disabilities. Static Volunteers and Mobile Volunteers were drafted. Static Volunteers provided general assistance to all persons with disabilities at the polling station. Mobile Volunteers provided individual transport service to the specific voter with disabilities.
  14. How Kerala made its Elections Accessible Prior to the Kerala Legislative Assembly Elections, the State doubled its efforts in reaching out to the PwDs in the following ways - Every district conducted a massive drive to ensure maximum enrolment of PwDs. Permanent Ramps were built in public buildings serving as polling stations. Directions have been given to District Election Officers (DEOs) to set up temporary ramps wherever construction of permanent ramps is not possible. In order to make space for the entry of wheelchairs of the disabled inside the polling station, wide entrances were ensured. The disabled are given priority-entry and are not required to wait at the polling queue. Other facilities like tricycles, wheel chairs, and stretchers are provided in all polling stations. Additional guidelines through A/V medium are also made widely available.
  15. Azamgarh: Booth Dost for PwDs Special efforts and innovations were made in Azamgarh to strengthen the concept of INCLUSIVE DEMOCRACY. An intensive survey was done by which 30583 PwDs were listed, the highest in UP. The survey also included the type of disability of the PwDs, their mobile number, epic number etc. A free, offline app was made to reach out to the PwDs. Using this app, a two way communication was established between the BLO and PwDs which helped in filling form 6 and any EPIC related issues. There are around 650 newly recruited lekhpal in the District who are in their training tenure. They were given the name of BOOTH DOOT and were allotted booths for survey of PwDs. There are around 3461 booths and each lekhpal were given around 5-6 booth for survey. A mock poll session with around 300 PwDs who were facing 6 types of disabilities namely deaf, dump, blind, without hands, legs and muscular dystrophy were invited and had a one to one experience with the EVM machine and a mock booth. It helped them to give a first-hand experience of booth. Distribution of voter slips in braille for the visually impaired voters was arranged. SVEEP Song was made 28 Making Elections Accessible and sung by PwDs to motivate the community and the same was pictured in sign language also for the deaf PwDs. In addition to that, a tableau for “Inclusive Democracy” was displayed on parade ground on Republic Day and on Valentine Day, as gesture for our love for voting rights and PwDs, a Rose Marathon to promote voter awareness for PwDs was attended by hundreds of PwDs. They were felicitated with Roses during the march. It was by these efforts that out of 30583 PwDs 21479 actually voted (Around 70%). Kanpur Nagar: Election with a human touch (2017) For a healthy democracy it is necessary that all the organs of the society participate in its democratic processes. It is failure of a democracy if any of its community fails to participate in the process of electing its representatives. For Uttar Pradesh General Assembly Election 2017, District Kanpur Nagar decided that the upcoming election will be an election with a human touch and special focus will be facilitation of Divyang Voters (PwDs). The fundamental task to identify Divyang voters started when all BLOs were asked to identify through door to door verification. Later list of 23357 PwD pensioners was taken from PwD welfare department and provided to all BLOs area wise to supplement their search. BLOs could hardly identify around 8000 Divyang people despite repeated efforts. When this did not succeed in city area, employees, Zonal Officers of Municipal Corporation, Civil defence volunteers, ICDS workers were combined in ward wise teams and deployed for door to door survey of PwD people. The purpose was to identify Divyang people by surveying each household and confirming whether their names exist in Voter list or not. Immediately thereafter the exercise of voter registration of left out Divyang people was started. After registering all the left out voters a control room comprising 10 people was started to feed the details of all Divyang voters AC wise. Special SVEEP activities were carried out with the help of Divyang associations, NGOs, Education departments, NSS and Civil defence. The main emphasis was on awareness rallies, street plays, EVM training and pledge taking. District level officers of Panchayati Raj, Health, Revenue departments and In charge of NSS, NCC, NYK, Civil defence were called to depute their employees or volunteers as PwD Assistants. They were assigned the responsibility of PwD for smooth voting. These were arranged after a thorough consultation with PwD Associations for their special needs. Auto Rickshaws and E-Rickshaws were used as PwD Rath (Chariot) to carry PwD voters to polling stations. The result of whole exercise was very overwhelming where in 80.78% PwD voters actually voted in a hassle free manner using all provided facilities
  16. Divyang Doli in Rudraprayag Divyang Doli was initiated to facilitate PwD voters, for around 232 voters spread across 133 polling stations, it was a helping hand for voters with disabilities who could not walk to the polling station on their own. Volunteers were roped in to assist persons with disabilities to reach the polling station and cast their vote with ease.
  17. In the run up to the November 2017 election for the State Legislative Assembly, Himachal Pradesh determinedly worked towards motivating PwD electors, facilitating them and ensuring their participation. One of the first tasks accomplished by the State, was the preparation of a database of PwDs with the help of records maintained by the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment/Hospitals and the office of CMOs. The list of PwDs was shared with BLOs so that they could help them in enrolment and subsequent awareness and motivation to participate in the electoral process. Special modules were developed for PwDs in the form of brochures, audio material etc, with the help of specialized agencies and departments to spread awareness about the electoral process. A Special drive was taken up to enrol PwD students in colleges with the help of Campus Ambassadors.Voter education content was included in the skill development programmes for PwDs run by the Department of Social Justice & Empowerment.Some CSOs regularly conducted vocational training for vision and hearing impaired people. Voter education content for PwDs was made available to these CSOs for inclusion in their trainings. To inspire the will to vote, young achiever Muskan Thakur- a university student with excellent academic record, visually impaired, was selected as a youth icon to promote voter awareness among the youth. Seeing someone just like them so enthusiastic about the right to franchise, motivated other PwD electors to turn up on the polling stations.
  18. Reaching out to the Visually Impaired Enrolment Programs were held at organisations working with PwDs in Ahmedabad like Blind People’s Association, Prakash, Uthan Talim Kendra etc. 8236 PwD voters identified through BLO survey, which is highest in the state. To appeal to them, two Pwd Icons in the district are identified. SVEEP activities like Voter Awareness Tricycle Rally by PwD Voters were organised along with the other awareness campaigns.
  19. Divyang Polling Station of Panaji In tune with the Election Commission’s intent to make the election process more inclusive and to encourage differently abled voters to exercise their franchise, it was decided to declare one of the polling stations in 11- Panaji AC as a Divyang Polling Station. This polling station was managed entirely by staff, including the Presiding Officer, who are differently abled. Special efforts were taken to identify such staff from the various government departments. The willingness of the officials were sought and two groups were formed – one for the duties on the day of poll and one reserve. Special training was given in two rounds for these personnel and their feedback was taken in order to make provisions for their specific requirements at the polling stations so that they have a comfortable experience. This initiative was widely appreciated by the national and local media and NGOs working for the differently abled. The Divyang Polling Station had a large voter turnout. In addition to this, special efforts were made to identify differently abled voters in each Polling Station Area through house to house verification by BLOs and Sector Officers. Accordingly, transport facilities through the vehicles of Sector Officers were made available on the day of poll to the differently abled. More wheelchairs were provided in polling stations were a larger number of differently abled voters were expected to cast their votes.
  20. The Silent Ballot – Massar The village of Kongthong in Meghalayas East Khasi hills perched on an adjoining ridge is known far and wide, as the village where its residents, are identified not with their names, but through various musical whistles and sounds. It is strikingly ironical that just across the hill, and in stark contrast, lies the village of Massar, known as a “silent village’’, with its 87 households, being either, partially or completely tone deaf and hearing impaired. In the year of Accessible Elections, this feature drew the election officials towards the village, in an effort to better understand and to make Elections truly accessible to each and every voter, and to perhaps make an “unheard” election “heard”. With a view to penetrate these impervious circles, the officials soon found themselves at the village Headman’s house. The young Headman and his Secretary shared a detailed account of how over 87 households belonging to the Nongsteng clan have remained silent for generations together for the past 100 years. He revealed that there are two groups of people amongst the Nongsteng Clan – The “hearing group” – Nongsteng Sngew and the “deaf group” Nongsteng Kyllut, living on two different hills. He mentioned that 87 households from amongst the village residents are dominated by the Nongsteng “deaf group”. It was pointed out that, most of the children, in the age bracket 0-6years are at various stages of hearing impairment. Records of some NGOs working in the village, reveal that this community of hearing impaired numbers about 90 persons, including 42 children. The officials personally interacted with the community members to understand ways to make tangible efforts at making Accessible Elections not only truly accessible, but also inclusive, for each and every eligible voter from amongst them. A young lady Batimon Nongsteng a member of the Nongsteng kyllut clan, acted as a vital link on communication between the two parties. It was through Batimon, that the Nongsteng voters about 35 of them, some of them profoundly deaf, some partially, could vocalise their thoughts through signs and shrill syllables. Batimon shared that to survive, some learnt to lip-read, whereas a large many floundered. On enquiring about elections through a unique combination of sign language and lip-reading, many of them raised their hands to indicate in the affirmative. The ERO of the Assembly constituency, however remarked, that perhaps many of the women here continued to grapple with silence, at a time when elsewhere, the Poll campaign would have reached a crescendo through loud jingles, bands, songs and speeches. Asked how they responded to political campaigns, the members revealed that they diligently followed messages, received on their mobile phones, which even in their respective day to day lives is an indispensible tool for enabling them to communicate and negotiate their challenged existences. The officials were told that as the hearing impaired amongst this community are mainly women, often it is a male member who would guide his female relatives through sign language on the voting process. Across the village, silence hangs like a heavy curtain, and interpersonal communication is relegated to lip-reading and basic sign language. When the village votes, even the beep of the electronic machine is often lost on most of these women. Painstakingly, it was communicated that the Election Commission has designated 2018 as the year of Accessible Elections, with a special focus on People With Disabilities (PWDs) like themselves, and that the purpose of the visit was to better understand their difficulties and challenges, and that the Commission will be creating special facilities for them, for their enrolment and voting, to help them. No sooner were these messages comprehended that the community collectively broke into a smile which drifted across like a hopeful haze. The affirmative message of Accessible Elections, cut a steady and hope filled path through the silence, and the collective handicaps experienced by this community soon transformed into hope, as it was announced that one of theirs, Batimon Nongsteng has been appointed as a Special Booth Level Officer for PWDs of Massar Polling Station under 27-Pynursla (ST) AC, with the specific role to assist the PWDs in enrolment in the Electoral Rolls, to facilitate them during polling, and to also act as facilitators of the PWDs in all election matters, including all other issues concerning their welfare in connection with their participation in the Electoral Process. Sign languages, embodying applause, quickly followed when it was announced that as part of Assured Minimum Facility (AMF), priority voting, and continued endeavours to ensure the presence of specially trained volunteers, would be made available for them in all future elections. To end this unique interaction, a vote of thanks was proposed by a young hearing impaired girl who recently passed her matriculation from St. Fernando, a leading speech and hearing impaired institution of the state.
  21. Preparing ahead of MP State Legislative Assembly Elections 2018 With elections scheduled for later in 2018, the State is determined to stand true to the theme of the year on ‘Accessible Elections’. Until now, Madhya Pradesh has taken the following measures - Educated and sensitized PwDs have been made Campus Ambassadors for motivating PwDs. Educated deaf and dumb PwDs are being motivated to work as BLOs. In Bhopal, Ujjain, Indore and Jabalpur districts, BRTS bus-stops have been made PwD-friendly and facilities like toilets, drinking water, ramps, shades etc, have been provided for their smooth transit and participation. Dummy ballot papers for visually impaired voters have been prepared and successfully used in the State Bye-Elections. A visually- challenged Professor, Dr. Rohit Trivedi associated with the Government Sarojini Naidu Autonomus Girls College, Bhopal has been identified as State Icon.
  22. The theme and focus of SVEEP, Karnataka has been “Inclusive, Accessible and Ethical Elections”. All efforts were thus made to enhance the registration and voting of PwDs. Celebrities like Bharat Ratna awardee Prof CNR Rao, Rahul Dravid, Jnanpith awardee Dr Chandrasekhar Kambar, Ashwini Angadi, Girish N. Gowda- a para Olympian and others were roped in as State Icons. In an effort to promote participation by PwDs, 26 Polling Stations were opened and fully manned by PwDs. 388 Polling Personnel with Disabilities contributed in polling station and election-related work across the State. Special camps were organized for registration of PwDs. Campaign resources including videos, films, posters and banners featuring Icons were effectively used in cinema halls, malls, print, electronic and social media to create awareness among the target group. Special postage stamp on the theme of inclusiveness were released and a special registration and voting guide for the visually impaired in Braille script was widely distributed. The Chief Electoral Officer, sent out Personalized letters in Braille to 1000 visually-impaired voters. A special software for reading WhatsApp and other social media messages was devised. The State observed an improved turnout amongst its PwD voters as a result of its dedicated efforts.
  23. 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.
  24. 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
  25. Mali: Electoral Access Project Boîte á images¸or image boxes, were used by the Electoral Access Project in Mali (PAPEM) for a voter education project supported by IFES in Bamako in 2015. The pictures integrated persons with disabilities throughout the document, which used images to explain to voters how to participate. By including voters with disabilities in the drawing, the project not only encouraged persons with disabilities to take part in the election but also increased awareness of other voters on the rights of persons with disabilities to take part in political and public life. Trained facilitators used the images to help explain the voting process. The wordless format enhanced access of persons with low literacy as well as voters with intellectual disabilities. Image boxes have also been used around the world in countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Haiti to increase awareness of participation in political life and elections.

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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