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Organisation : Election Commission Of India
Facility : Inclusion of Persons With Disabilities in the Election Process
Applicable For : PWD Persons With Disabilities
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ECI Inclusion of PWD in the Election Process

On the occasion of 8th National Voters Day on 25th January 2018, Election Commission of India (ECI) hosted an International Conference on ‘Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities in the Election Process’ on 24th January 2018.

Related : ECI Election Commission Return Preparer Guidelines :

Delegates at the Conference included Chairpersons/Commissioners / Senior Officials of five Election Management Bodies (EMBs) viz. Australia, Bhutan, Guinea, Moldova & Zambia and Heads of two International Organisations viz.

International Foundation of Electoral Systems (IFES) and International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA). In his Inaugural Address, Mr. O.P.Rawat, Hon’ble Chief Election Commissioner of India, reiterated ECI’s resolve to uphold the sanctity of free, fair and peaceful elections in keeping with the rich democratic traditions of India.

He stated that ECI is committed to the objective that the Persons with Disabilities have the right to full electoral participation, on the basis of equality and shall not be discriminated against on any ground. He pointed out that it was high time to move away from tokenism and ensure participation of PwDs in exercising their franchise.

He highlighted the major initiatives taken by the ECI to ensure provision of basic facilities at the polling stations making them conducive for Persons with Disabilities to exercise their right to vote. He expressed the hope that the conference would provide useful takeaways for all stakeholders in this endeavour.

‘Accessible Elections’ has been selected as central theme of this year’s ‘National Voter’s Day’ celebration. The theme, that seamlessly integrates into the underlying philosophy of universal adult suffrage and the concept of ’No voter to be left behind.’

In his presentation titled ‘Crossing the Barriers Making Elections Friendly and Accessible for PwDs in India’, he briefed the delegates on the major barriers and challenges faced by the PwDs and the initiatives taken by the ECI in ensuring their inclusion in the electoral process.

There were three sessions during the Conference where senior delegates from EMBs and International Organisations participated.

International delegates which included Heads / Senior officials of several EMBs as mentioned above and Head of IFES and International IDEA gave their presentations and shared their experiences, best practices and initiatives aimed at electoral engagement, enrolment and active participation in ballot exercise by PwDs in various countries.

Launch of ECI’s Social Media Hub

During the Conference, the Election Commission of India launched its Social Media Hub comprising Facebook and Youtube as part of its outreach programme for public at large.

MoUs Signed

On the sidelines of the Conference on 24 January 2018, ECI signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the field of election management with the following bodies :
(1) National Independent Electoral Commission (CENI) of Guinea
(2) Central Election Commission of Moldova
(3) International Institute for Democracy and Electoral Assistance

The MoUs provide for an institutional framework and aim for promotion of exchanges of knowledge and experience in the field of organizational and technical development, with a view to strengthening the administration of electoral processes;

Exchange of information, material, expertise and technical know how relating to electoral processes and systems; training of personnel and organizational development and capacity building.

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