The Election Commission of India’s Chief Election Commissioner Sushil Chandra on Wednesday lauded Himachal Pradesh for the huge turnout of disabled voters in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
Chandra was the chief guest at the national conference on Accessible Election that was organized by the Election Commission through video conferencing, said Ajai Srivastava, state Coordinator for Accessible Elections and chairman of Umang Foundation.
Srivastava, who represented the state in the conference, stated that prominent disability and accessibility experts of the country participated in the conference.
“Sushil Chandra informed that 74 per cent turnout of disabled voters was recorded in the state in 2019 Lok Sabha polls as compared to 72 per cent turnout of rest of the voters which was a remarkable feat. He further asserted ECI’s commitment to make all necessary arrangements for accessible and inclusive polls in the coming assembly election in five states including Himachal next year,” he added.
Ajai Srivastava apprised the Election Commission about the excellent work carried out by the Election Department of Himachal in the last few years to make the poll process accessible for the disabled and senior citizens.
He suggested that the VVPAT system in EVM should be equipped with audio signage so that visually impaired persons could know the fate of their vote.
“All people with intellectual disabilities and mental illness should be enrolled in the voter lists and polling booths should be set up in all mental hospitals to enable the people with mental disabilities to use their right to vote.
In addition, a sign language interpreter should be stationed at the Election headquarters as when a hearing-impaired person comes to the booth, he could be connected with the interpreter through video call for better communication,” he added.
HP Chief Electoral Officer (CEO) C Paulrasu, Additional CEOs Daleep Negi and Neelam Dulta and OSD Neeraj Sharma also participated in the national conference.