A non-governmental organisation that deals with issues relating to people living with disabilities (PLWDs), known as the Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) has provided the data of registered voters of people living with disabilities (PWDs) across 13 states to the Independent Electoral Commission (INEC) to enable it plan for this category of voters.
The executive secretary of the IFA, Miss Grace Jerry, during the public presentation of the research document on the participation of PWLDs in continuous voter registration (CVR) in Abuja, disclosed that the availability of PLWDs data during the off-season elections last year assisted INEC to deploy effectively voting materials in most polling centres.
Miss Jerry, who noted that before now, one of the reasons why most PLWDs do not participate in electoral process was due to non-possession of voter’s card, poor awareness/voter education as well as non-availability of data of PWDs to enable INEC plan adequately for them, availability of specialized voting materials for PWDs and non-elimination of physical barriers for easy accessibility.
While stating that the research was conducted mainly to identify and understand some of the factors responsible for the low participation of PLWDs in the CVR process beyond the obvious marginal reasons already known, she also called on INEC to employ roving/mobile registration across communities with clusters of PLWDs to reduce the cost of registration.
Other requests forwarded to INEC by the IFA boss include, “data of voters with disabilities by cluster should be published to assist organisations of PWDs to plan better initiatives to encourage more participation of PWD community. Registration officers must be continually trained to ensure they attend to PWDs with utmost dignity as they exercise their franchise.
She stated that as INEC increased the number of registration centres nationwide, physical accessibility of the locations should be prioritised in the selection of such locations.