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Bolangir:During the second phase of polling, when the patriotic fervor is high to elect the proper representative to uphold the sanctity of democracy, the differently-abled are also moving forward to cast their vote, thanks to the new move of the Election Commission to provide the provision of pick and drop facilities for the physically challenged during elections.
A differently-abled person was brought by poll volunteers in Banipalli constituency of Bolangir district in Odisha. Appreciating the efforts, he said, “I am so glad these measures are taken up to help people like us. This move has made us feel equal and even proud to be able to exercise our voting power.”
It is worth mentioning that the Election Commission has left no stone unturned to ensure the voting process of differently abled persons to be hassle-free. It has taken several steps to ensure more people come out and vote.
People with Disabilities (PwDs) form a massive chunk of Indian electorate. The first phase of voting, which concluded on April 11, saw participation from PwDs across states. Over 18,000 PwDs voted from Hyderabad, and 900 voted in Meghalaya..
In their effort to ensure that no voter is left behind, irrespective of any form of disability, the EC directed officials to identify PwD voters state-wise and facilitate the voter registration forms and procedures for them personally. With “Assured Minimum Facilities” at polling stations, and by collaborating with NGOs and Residential Welfare Associations, it has trained polling officers and volunteers to assist PwDs.
Further, with an aim to make information and registration procedure easier, the ECI also launched the ‘PwD’ app. The Android app is designed specifically for first-time voters or for those who want to avail the facilities on polling day.
The election commission has also come up with special provisions such as braille ballots, a mobile app for assistance, construction of temporary ramps, pick-up and drop services, and training booth-level officers in sign languages to help people with disabilities.