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  1. ABILITY EXPRESS – EMPOWERING VOTERS WITH DISABILITIES The human spirit is one of ability, perseverance and courage that no disability can take away. It has always been the endeavour of the Election Commission of India to facilitate ease of access to all voters to ensure holistic participation of all in the festival of democracy that is the Great Indian Election. Assured Minimum Facilities at polling stations, volunteers for aid and assistance, provision of ramp and wheelchair, transport to and from the booth, sign language interpreters and Braille EVMs are just some of the initiatives of the Commission to abide by its motto of ‘No Voter to be Left Behind’. Buoyed by the dedicated efforts of the Commission, the South 24 Parganas District Administration in West Bengal undertook a unique initiative to empower Persons with Disabilities through five specially designed vehicles called ‘Ability Express’. Developed in due consultation with disability experts, the vehicles were designed in such manner so that electors with any type of disability could experience the process of voting virtually and get inspired to participate in the electoral process of the largest democracy of the world. After flag off on 6th March 2021 by the District Election Officer & District Magistrate, South 24 Parganas in the presence of the especially abled icons of the district - one Ability Express was allotted for each of the five Sub-Divisions of the district namely Alipore Sadar, Diamond Harbour, Kakdwip, Baruipur and Canning for movement as per the comprehensive date and area wise calendar prepared. Prior to this, mapping of PwD voters by the local Booth Level Officers and Anganwadi Workers helped ascertain the number of PwD voters in the district and the route of the five vehicles was charted accordingly. With an audio-visual system for step-by-step demonstration of the process of voting, instructions in Braille on the wall panels of the vehicle, wheelchair and ramp for electors with locomotor and neurological disorders and sign language interpreters for hearing and speech impaired electors – concerted efforts were made to make this initiative accessible to voters with all kinds of disabilities. After settling up at an earmarked spot at a pre-scheduled time, especially abled electors were guided into the Ability Express to stand at marked spots and press the buzzer placed at the wall of the vehicle fixed against each such spot. After pressing each of the buzzers, the electors got the unique opportunity to experience the process of entering into the polling station maintaining COVID protocols and the entire polling process. As they moved along from the First, Second and Third Polling Officer to the Voting Compartment, the Presiding Officer virtually explained the important rules to be followed inside the polling station, especially maintaining the secrecy of voting. In addition to this, the Ability Express also had a Special Ability coordinator cum demonstrator and Quiz Master for necessary guidance and support to all especially abled electors to make them aware of various important facilities. The Ability Express also had the provision of web-based services such as the NVSP portal, using the Voter Helpline App, generating e-EPIC and more right on the spot. Empowering PwD electors by acknowledging their ability instead of their disability was widely appreciated and this initiative went a long way in boosting the confidence of PwD electors ahead of the polls. With the presence of District SVEEP Icons and District Especially Abled Icons, the five Ability Express vehicles covered more than 12,000 KMs and connected about 85,000 especially abled electors from the remotest areas of all of the 31 (thirty-one) Assembly Constituencies of South 24 Parganas District. -Inputs from CEO West Bengal Story-34 Success Story _Ability Express_South 24 Parganas (1).pdf
  2. POSTAL BALLOT FACILITY: INCLUSIVE ELECTIONS Where there is a will, there is a way – and when voters cannot physically reach the Polling Station, the Polling Station will reach out to them! From enrollment to election, the Election Commission of India leaves no stone unturned in ensuring that no voter is left behind. It is in the pursuit of this endeavour that the facility of Postal Ballot was extended to PwD electors, senior citizens above the age of 80 years, officers on essential election duty as notified by the Commission and COVID-19 positive patients. 22-Kalimpong, situated at a height of more than 1,200 metres above sea level in the eastern Himalayas is the only Assembly Constituency of the smallest District of Darjeeling, West Bengal. It is the determination of our polling officers buoyed by the commitment of the Election Commission of India that voters from this hilly district were reached out to despite the many hurdles of extreme climatic conditions and inaccessible terrain. 106-year-old Pavitra Pradhan from Part No.86 in the Municipal area of Kalimpong AC and 82-year-old Bhuddiman Mukhia of Nokdara village who availed this facility for the first time were excited to provide a heartwarming welcome to the entire polling team. The family of 31-year-old Jivan Roy from the Lower Beong village of Gidabling Gram Panchayat witnessed the joy of their son voting for the first time despite his locomotor disability. The polling officials even reached out to the hidden hamlet Mansintar in a remote corner at the border of Bhutan - truly, no voter was left behind. With the announcement of the Postal Ballot facility, 45% of the flagged voters i.e 2400 electors applied for access to cast their votes by Postal Ballot. ECI was fully geared to fulfill the commitment to make the voting process easy, accessible, inclusive, safe and free & fair for all. Majority of the population of this area consists of various tribal and non-tribal groups like Lepcha, Bhutia, Tamang, Limbu, Sherpa, Dukpa, Yolmo, Mech, Santal, Sarki, Damai, Kami, Rai, Magar, Chettri, Gurung and others with Nepali as the lingua franca of the region. Considering the hilly terrain and hidden hamlets in the slopes, meticulous planning was done to cover each and every absentee voter within the stipulated time. The Polling Party comprising of two Polling Officers, Videographer, Micro Observer and half section of CAPF apart from State Police, started their journey on 5th April, 12 days ahead of poll. There was a well managed Distribution Centre at the District Treasury where Postal Ballots were split and handed over to the Polling Teams in the early morning under tight security. 51 such polling parties were on the field, travelling by car and even by foot to reach the voters! The polling officials reaffirmed the faith of voters in democracy as they recorded the postal ballot votes. The success of any democratic process of election rests upon the sheer strong faith of electors in the democracy accompanied by the sheer grit and determination of election officials. Absentee voters were appreciative of the Postal Ballot facility given by the Election Commission in view of the pandemic. Undoubtedly, it has improved the total voter turnout percentage while ensuring that elections were accessible and inclusive for all. -Inputs from CEO West Bengal
  3. Version 1.0.0


    Voter Awareness Programs in Bengali language by JU RADIO , RADIO SALESIAN and Y FM in run-up to West Bengal Legislative Assembly Election 2021.
  4. Version 1.0.0


    Voter Guide with step-by-step instructions for COVID-safe election in different regional languages.
  5. Version 1.0.0


    High-res PDF and Design File (.INDD) of Voter Guide with revised COVID-safety voting guidelines, for Legislative Assembly Election in Assam, Kerala, Puducherry, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal.

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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