INEC supplies inadequate electoral tools for disabled voters

All-rights Foundation Africa pointed out on Saturday that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) provided inadequate assistive tools at polling units for Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) for the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections.

The CEO of TAF Africa, Jake Epelle, revealed this during the group’s Mid-Day Situation Report on the March 18 elections.

TAF Africa, funded by the European Union (EU) through its Support for Democratic Governance in Nigeria, sent out 340 observers and an election observer app and tools to provide real-time information on the participation of PWDs.

The Foundation’s observation was based on reports from 228 polling units which were analysed at 1:00 PM.

Epelle acknowledged that election officials arrived at the polling units on time but a lot of PWDs could not properly vote because of low assistive tools. He said:

“In the polling units observed, TAF Africa observers noted the early arrival of INEC officials at polling units. Our findings reveal that out of the 228 polling units observed, 91 per cent of them recorded early arrival of INEC officials and 68% of voting commencement.

“On accessibility, TAF Africa observers reported the accessibility of polling units at 94% of polling units observed, while priority voting was observed in 76% of polling units.

Epelle added: “TAF Africa observed the inadequate deployment of assistive tools at polling units. From the observed polling units, 75% had no braille ballot guides for the visually impaired, 87% had no magnifying glasses for persons with Albinism and 63% had no large font graphic posters for the deaf.”

The Foundation, however, urged INEC to find out why polling units with registered PWDs have inadequate assistive materials, for such could “disenfranchise them.”