The Electoral Commission has directed its officers not to allow the aged, pregnant women, lactating mothers and Persons with Disability(PWD’s) to join long queues when they come to vote.
Under ‘Preferential Treatment’, the Commission is reminding election officials that all vulnerable persons must be given preferential treatment at the polling centre when they are dully qualified to vote at the centre they go to.
As captured under ‘Gender and Disability’ on pages 12 and 13 of “A guide to voters election 2019′, these persons “should not be allowed to join long queues at the centre”.
It says “Presiding Officers are to make the necessary arrangements to ensure that such people including the sick, aged, pregnant women, lactating mothers and Persons with Disabilities (PWD’s) are not asked to join long queues.
Voters with unidentifiable disabilities such as deafness may be in the company of others who are likely to prompt the Presiding Officer for preferential treatment”.
On the issue of accessibility, the guide states that “all polling stations must be located at places that are accessible to all voters.
Polling stations must not be located on verandas, across gutters or in any area that would be ditficult for vulnerable people such as the sick, aged, and persons with disabilities, especially wheel chair users, to access”.
All polling centres must be located at low level areas.
Existing centres that are on verandas, across gutters or anywhere that will prevent free movement of voters must be relocated to a much accessible area, it added.
“Persons with visual impairment (full impairment or partially sighted), the physically disabled (those using wheel chairs/calipers), persons with hearing impairment, persons living with albinism and any other categories of disabilities that may be noticed at the centre are to receive preferential treatment”.
Story filed by Edzorna Francis Mensah