Persons with disabilities welcome braille ballot papers

Africa, December 23 2015

ZAMBIA: Persons with Disabilities goodwill ambassador Elijah Ngwale has commended the Electoral Commission of Zambia (ECZ) for including braille ballot papers for the forthcoming tripartite elections.

Professor Ngwale said the move by ECZ was timely and would help increase the number of people with vision disabilities to take part in voting.

He said the ECZ was also working on having a symposium with people living with disabilities in order for all the stakeholders to come up with a consensus on varying issues of concern.

“ECZ needs to be hailed for ensuring that braille ballot papers are included in the next general elections, because people with disabilities will not have challenges,” Prof Ngwale said.

He said many people with vision disabilities felt happy to be included in the voting system because they would freely choose their candidates without any challenges.

Prof Ngwale said the commission was not only targeting people who are blind, but had included sign language as people who are deaf were also catered for.
He said people with vision disabilities were in the past finding it hard to vote for their preferred candidate because ECZ did not include Braille ballot papers.

“People with vision disabilities in the past had problems voting because ECZ did not include braille ballot papers which they were conversant with,” he said.

Prof Ngwale said the commission had shown goodwill in ensuring that people with disabilities were not left out in national issues.
He said other projects that the ECZ was spearheading were the translating of the voter education guide manual and the voter registration handbook into braille to ease the dissemination of information to people with vision disabilities.

“The introduction of braille ballot papers is not the only project ECZ is working on but has also successfully translated the voter education guide manual and voter registration handbook into braille,” he said.

Source: Times of Zambia

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