Conference on accessible election held

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Imphal: Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Manipur on Thursday hosted a virtual conference on accessible elections.

Manipur CEO Rajesh Agrawal informed that the state targets for maximum marking of PwDs voters in the electoral roll till the completion of SSR, 2021. During the ongoing Special Summary Revision (SSR), 2021, over 4,000 PwD voters were verified and marked in the electoral roll, so far. Till date, the number of PwD electors marked in the electoral roll has crossed 12,000. He sought for assistance and support of CSOs in registration and marking of PwD electors.

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An “extra step” towards achieving a larger goal for coverage of all sections has been done. Steps are taken to share and inform ECI instruction for PwD facilitation for postal ballot, pick and drop, and other facilities, he added.

He urged District Elections Officers (DEOs) to work on creating awareness and to develop a training module for imparting and sensitizing PwD to polling personnel, police, BLOs and election officials. He stressed on Basic Sign Language to be part of the training and to develop a database with the unique mobile number of the PwDs.

Accessibility consultant, Election Commission of India, Smitha Sadasivan said for Acessible Election in Manipur to be effective for the upcoming General State Assembly Election, 2022, it is important to join hands with the state social welfare eepartment, disability groups functioning at district/state level federations and specific networks such as associations for the deaf/blind, Hemophilia, Thalassemia, Autism, among others.

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Those who opt for the postal ballot amongst the PwDs voters, it is required to produce a Disability Certificate, she added. She also highlighted various details on election information in accessible formats, barrier free polling booths (access surveys and reports), sensitisation of BLOs/ POs/ Police/ Booth volunteers, mock polling demonstrations, wheel chairs, transport, postal ballot, awareness campaigns / ELCs / icons, grievance redressal and feedback mechanism, wide publicity, etc. to successfully implement Accessible Elections in Manipur.

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Over 20 CSOs members from all the districts in Manipur participated in the virtual conference. Valuable opinions and suggestions for Accessible Elections were shared by the representatives of the CSOs.

Special Summary Revision (SSR), 2021 will conclude on November 30.

The virtual conference was also attended by joint CEO, Manipur, Ramananda Nongmeikapam, joint CEO, Manipur, Md. Daulat Khan and concerned officials. (PMC)

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