Imphal: Hosted by the Office of the Chief Electoral Officer (CEO), Manipur, a Virtual Conference on Accessible Elections was held Thursday.
Addressing the Virtual conference, the CEO, Manipur, 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. to date, the number of PwD electors marked in the electoral roll has crossed 12,000. He further sought assistance and support of CSOs in the registration and marking of PwD electors.
CEO, Manipur said that 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 & Drop, and other facilities.
Rajesh Agrawal 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 stated that for Accessible 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 Department, Disability Groups functioning in District/State Level Federations and Specific Networks such as Associations for the Deaf/Blind, Hemophilia, Thalassemia, Autism, among others.
Those who opt for the Postal Ballot amongst the PWDs voters, it is required to produce a Disability Certificate, asserted Accessibility Consultant, ECI. She also highlighted various details on Election information in Accessible formats, Barrier-free polling booths (Access surveys & reports), Sensitisation of BLOs/ POs/ Police/ Booth Volunteers, Mock polling demonstrations, Wheelchairs, Transport, Postal Ballot, Awareness campaigns / ELCs / Icons, Grievance Redressal & Feedback Mechanism, Wide publicity, etc. to successfully implement Accessible Elections in Manipur.
Over 20 (Twenty) 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.
It may be mentioned that Special Summary Revision (SSR), 2021 will conclude on 30th November 2021.
The virtual conference was also attended by Joint CEO, Manipur, Ramananda Nongmeikapam, Joint CEO, Manipur, Md Daulat Khan and concerned officials.