SVEEP DOCUMENT

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STRATEGIC FRAMEWORK ON ACCESSIBLE ELECTIONS

The Election Commission of India works on the premise of ‘No voter to be left behind’ and is committed to inclusion of

all categories of voters in the electoral process to achieve the desired objective of universal adult suffrage as per its

constitutional mandate. The Commission is committed to building an equal access framework for Persons with Disabilities

(PwDs) supported by the fundamentals of responsiveness, respect and dignity to enhance elector confidence among them; and

support initiatives for improved service offerings to enhance their electoral participation.

The Strategic Framework on Accessible Elections is built around sensitization through education and training, community

involvement of different sections of society, effective partnership with institutions and originations and creation of

facilities to cater to the specific needs of Persons with Disabilities (PwDs) with a view to increasing their

participation. The Strategic Framework shall inter alia include the following components:

1. Barriers: Continuous Identification and Solutions

Identifying barriers and finding solutions to the same has to be a continuous process. A system of regular, periodic

feedback shall be taken up. Well designed approach with strategic interventions including technology integration can help

in obliterating barriers.

2. Voter Registration & Polling

Database on PwDs, identified through mapping or initial voter registration, shall be efficiently and effectively used

for follow up steps in the electoral process and the monitoring system for feedback, evaluation and consolidation. Polling

stations shall be made accessible to all Persons with disabilities based on mapping of PwD electors and their specific

needs

3. Inclusive Voter Education

Customised voter education to cater to the different requirements of PwDs shall be taken up to empower them for electoral

participation. All voter education content shall be accessible format. Focussed and need based interventions shall be

taken up under ECI’s flagship voter education programme SVEEP to engage PwDs and also to sensitise their friends,

families, polling officials, security officials and all other stakeholders.

4. Leveraging Technology for Accessible Elections

 

This would essentially include (i)User friendly websites for PwDs of different categories. (ii) Accessible

Technological Tools for facilitating PwDs of different categories to cast their vote (iii) Solutions for assisting voters

with disabilities through technological innovation, research and integration. (iv) Accessible Media including Social Media

Communications.

5. Research, Study and Knowledge sharing

 

A continuous search for best practices, international and domestic, through detailed study and research on all areas of

participation by PwDs and sharing of experiences to help formulate enabling policies and interventions, to aid, assist and

facilitate the participation of PwDs.

6. Role of Partner Departments

 

To explore and build partnership and commitment with Ministries and Departments to evolve and carry forward the

interventions to electoral participation of PwDs.

7. Role of Educational Institutions

 

The Commission has already issued directions for setting up of Electoral Literacy Clubs (ELCs) in educational

institutions etc. Setting up of ELCs in educational institutions dedicated to the PwDs shall be expedited and the ELC

resources shall customised to match disability requirements.

8. Role of CSOs

 

To assess the potential of CSO’s and assign specific role in assisting equal access and capacity building through well

designed partnerships. CSO’s potential to build partnerships should be utilised subject to their non partisan nature.

9. Role of Media

 

Utilise the potential of Media in taking forward voter education and to engage PwD’s for increasing their electoral

participation. Media can actively contribute to an effective and successful integration of persons with disabilities in

the electoral process.

10. Poll Volunteers

 

Poll volunteers from among future voters can organised from educational institutions, and Chunav Pathshala, (ELCs for

Communities) and trained to assist PwDs, besides from among NCC/NSS/NYKS and other non-partisan voluntary groups. The

initiative will be subject to provisions of Rule 49N.

11. Training and Sensitization of Staff

 

Training and sensitization of the election is important so that they are empathetic to the needs of PwD voters. The

training shall be factored into regular training to the staff as also for the registration and facilitation of the PwDs.

12. Alternative Voting methods

 

Alternative voting methods like advance voting or early voting, voting from home, Postal vote, transport assistance to

PwDs or mobile polling station concept shall be looked at without compromising on the essential requirements of sanctity

and secrecy of vote.

13. Legislative Initiative

 

The scope of assistance to PwDs for participation is wide and diverse. Need for legislation shall be examined for

enhancing electoral participation of the PwDs.

14. Special 4 tiered Committees on Accessible Elections

 

Committees shall be formed at National, State, District and Assembly Constituency level with members from departments

as well as stakeholders to review implementation of the directions of the Commission on ‘Accessible Elections’.