Accessible Elections

May 2019

Sightsavers India takes a step forward in making General Elections inclusive for people with disabilities  

New Delhi, April 20, 2019: Before the onset of the general elections 2019, Sightsavers India, a leading global development organization, has been working towards the government’s efforts on ‘Accessible Elections’. Sightsavers India is playing a pivotal role in this initiative to ensure people with disability are not left behind to exercise their voting rights. The campaign – Towards an inclusive election: Leaving no one behind aims at creating awareness regarding accessible election and in ensuring increased participation of the PwDs in voting.

Through this initiative, Sightsavers India is encouraging more voters and empowering DPO members (Disabled People’s Organisation) all the more. Keeping this in mind, the DPO members started finding eligible voters who are PwDs in their districts. Sightsavers and its partner organizations in the states of Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Jharkhand  and Odisha liaised with Booth Level Officers at district level which further empowered DPO members to identify PwD’s above the age of 18 years and got their voting cards made, making PwDs part of the voting list.

Sightsavers India through its National Social Inclusion Programme is focusing on achieving economic empowerment, rights & entitlements, and creating an enabling environment for people with disabilities. This initiative is taken ahead by Sightsavers India, along with their partners to maximize the participation of people with disabilities during elections.

Sightsavers has been conducting various activities before the Election Day to increase awareness regarding inclusive elections. The campaign also incorporated important things like creating a long Human Chain on public roads, massive rangolis, each voter wearing a bright colorful badge with a message, many PwDs holding placards with slogans and messages and slogan chanting led by the leaders of the rallies.

Speaking about making elections accessible for persons with disabilities, Mr RN Mohanty, CEO Sightsavers India said, “Sightsavers India’s National Social Inclusion Programme seeks to create an enabling environment for people with disabilities to lead a life of dignity with equal participation at all forums. Voting during elections is undoubtedly one of the most significant rights to democracy for people to exercise. Inclusion in the election process with complete participation of people with disabilities (PWDs) is a step in the right direction to ensure that we ‘Leave No Voter Behind’. Everyone in the state including government authorities and the people seems to be motivated by inclusive election and we feel that this would only help in increasing the number of voters in the coming years.”

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