“Section 133 of the Representation of the People Act confers a right to vote by proxy for persons who are unable, or likely to be unable to, by reason of blindness or another physical incapacity to go in person to the polling place.”
If able to go and vote unaided, this method of voting does not always go well with persons with disabilities, since there is concern that they cannot guarantee that the individual will vote in conformity with instruction of the visually impaired, unless you may have a close relative or friend.
“While GECOM is sympathetic to these complaints it is necessary to have this legislation implemented.”
This is according to Chairperson of the Guyana Elections Commission, Justice Claudette Singh.
Speaking at the “Voters Education Campaign Launch for Persons with Disabilities,” that was held in the conference room of the national library, yesterday morning, Ms Singh stated that in keeping with the inclusionary measures, GECOM will do more for persons with disabilities when it comes to their rights to vote independently.
Also speaking at the event were, US Ambassador to Guyana, Sarah Ann Lynch, Founder of the Guyana Society for the Blind, Ganesh Singh, and Chairman of Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD), Mr. Cecil Morris.
Ganesh Singh stated that it is fundamental for persons with disabilities to fully understand their rights as voters and also it should be within their powers to execute those rights independently.
“We are in the process of developing some audio clips and brochures that will be forwarded to the Guyana Election Commission (GECOM), so that the Election Day staff can be fully aware on how to interact and communicate with persons living with disabilities,” Mr. Singh explained.
Mr. Singh further explained that since general election is mere weeks from now, he is fully aware that all recommendations submitted by Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD) to GECOM cannot be implemented for the upcoming general election.
However, GCOPD will be lobbying for legislatives to be put in place so that disable persons will be able to vote independently for the 2025 election.
The recommendations that were sent to GECOM on behalf of the disable society are that options be available so that blind and visually impaired Guyanese can vote privately and independently; Special instruction for voters who are deaf and ramps and slip resistant surfaces for the physically impaired.
Guyana Council of Organisations for Persons with Disabilities (GCOPD) is requesting that these three measures be put in place at every polling station across Guyana, so that disable persons can be comfortable when casting their respective vote.
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