Voting to be an enabling experience for disabled

The state Election Commission is trying to fill the gaps in data regarding differently-abled voters spread across Karnataka, which had last year limited its attempt to make voting disabled-friendly during the Assembly polls.

Chief Electoral Officer Sanjiv Kumar on Wednesday released a draft list of the differently-abled voters, including orthopedic, hearing and visually impaired persons. “Following our efforts in last year’s Assembly elections, the Election Commission held a national level-consultation and a policy has been framed to help differently abled voters across the country,” he said.

He said that during the Assembly elections, the turnout of the differently abled voters stood at 76%. The commission had arranged 30,000 wheelchairs to help them.

As per the data released by the commission, Bengaluru has lowest number of voters with only 10,995 registering under the ‘persons with disability’ category in both Bangalore Rural and Urban districts, including BBMP areas.

Tumkur district leads the list with 28,430 differently abled voters. It is followed by Belagavi (24,650), Raichur (19,539), Mysuru (19,200). Across the state, the total number of such voters stood at 4.03 lakh.

The final data will be known after the complete update of the electoral rolls before the election.

During the event, paralympic high-jumper Girish N Gowda, who was felicitated for taking part in electoral literacy programmes, urged all the voters to participate in the electoral process.

The commission will provide several services specially designed for differently abled voters, including wheelchair, transport facility, magnifying glass, sign language interpreters, priority queue among others.

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