In a first, the visually-impaired voters of East Delhi constituency were handed out Braille-coded voter cards, an initiative aimed at making polls more accessible for the differently-abled.
Speaking with PTI, District Election Officer for East Delhi, K. Mahesh said that there were 5,218 differently-abled voters in East Delhi, among whom 276 were blind. They were handed out specially designed voter IDs.
The voters were also provided with a specially designed alarm clock, a signature guard with a case, along with the Braille scripted Electoral Photo Identity Card (EPIC).
Election officials said the new cards would help improve their participation and may also inspire those unfamiliar with the Braille signage system to learn it. The differently-abled people would also be provided facilities, including pick-up and drop from their homes to the polling booths.
In order to help voters with disabilities cast their vote, various facilities are being made available at polling stations including Braille signage on the ballot unit of EVM, construction of ramps, provisions for wheelchairs at all polling stations, trained volunteers, pick-up and drop facilities among others, The Hindu reported, quoting Mahesh. Polling will take place in all the seven constituencies in Delhi on May 12.
Despite the assurances of the election commission, there have been reports of inconvenience faced by the differently-abled voters.
Disability rights activist J Swarnalatha claimed that none of the facilities that the Commission promised was made available at a polling booth at the Saradha Nursery and Primary School in Coimbatore, where she went to vote on Thursday, April 18.
“There was no ramp, wheelchair. The entrance was challenging – not just to me but even senior citizens as a two-brick structure to prevent rain water from entering in greeted me,” The Hindu quoted her as saying.