Some information about accessible elections
With the general elections just a few days away, the whole country and administration is abuzz with preparation. For many young people this will be the first time they will cast their votes and select a leader.
The Election Commission of India (ECI) has been making announcements about the various arrangements that are being made across the country to make the voting accessible for people with disabilities.
"No voter to be left behind is the motto of the Election Commission and will only stand true if people with disabilities are able to exercise their votes across the country. The 2011 Census claims that there are around 70 million people with disabilities in the country.
Various states are offering pick up and drop facilities for voters with disabilities on the polling dates. Another provision also allows for the people with disabilities to get priority at polling stations and they can enter the same without waiting in the queues.
Every Indian citizen with disability or reduced mobility or functions who has reached the age of 18 years can register as a voter. Eligible person with disability or reduced mobility or physical functions can get enrolled in electoral roll.
This can be done by filling Form 6 online at www.nvsp.in and uploading the necessary documents. The form allows the voters to register and provide the information about their disabilities.
The enrolment can also be done by filling up the Form 6 available at the voter enrolment centres or the offices of Electoral Registration Officers / Assistant Electoral Registration Officers.
The forms can also be sent by post to Electoral Registration Officer / Assistant Electoral Registration Officer. The forms are available free of cost.
Documents needed for enrolment
To register as a voter, one recent passport size coloured photograph will need to be affixed on form 6.
- Proof of age if between 18 and 21 years of age and proof of residence. The list of valid documents can be checked under the guidelines.
How to check if you name is included
The information can be checked through the website of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO). The information can also be obtained by contacting booth level officer.
I would advise disabled voters to carry relevant documents on polling day with them. Polling booths in cities are usually nearby but people in remote areas may have to travel to long distances and they should be prepared for the toil mentally and physically. It is crucial for us to cast our votes and exercise our right. Ponnalagar Devendra, Founder-President, Nayan Foundation
Voters with disabilities can also pre book by using the option of online or SMS booking of wheel chairs and volunteers. In some polling booths prior booking of parking facility is also available.
Some tips for voters
- Register for voting and check enrolment status.
- Try and get more information about the voting process in your area. Also get to know about the candidates that are contesting the elections to make a wise choice.
- Check the exact location of the pooling booth before the Election Day.
- Know about your rights and the facilities at the polling booth.
"I believe in casting vote but I am hugely disappointed in the state of affairs. The country has failed to provide the basic rights to people with disabilities. Government has given the name of divyang to people with disabilities but has not done anything beyond that for their welfare. I will not vote this year in protest as I feel that disabled people continue to be ignored. " says Himanshu Kumar, para cyclist.