CAIRO: There were 40 complaints reporting difficulties for physically challenged voters on the first day of elections at polling stations that lacked special preparations for them, head of elections chamber at National Council for Disabled Affairs Samy Ahmed said.
The chamber was observing Monday the flow of the elections process regarding the disabled voters by sending 116 observers throughout Egypt.
“The council distributed 15,000 posters to polling stations across Egypt that included instructions to help physically challenged people to vote but most of the stations did not provide them,” Ahmed told The Cairo Post Tuesday.
Head of the disabled unit at the National Council for Human Rights Ahmed Isaac explained that the posters are designed to help the mute and the deaf to understand the procedures of the voting system. He said other voters who suffer physical disabilities can depend on themselves and can ask for help at the polling stations.
“Although we requested the presence of social assistants to voters with physical challenges, none were available at the polling stations, which made it difficult for some voters to reach their polling stations,” Isaac said.
“There was a general lack of assistants for the physically challenged in most polling stations. Voters could not reach higher floor levels, which prompted armed and security forces to carry the disabled upstairs to vote,” he added. “This is considered a humiliation to the disabled who have the right to reach their polling station smoothly without direct help of others.”
“Some schools with sandy grounds made it difficult for voters with medium impaired mobility to reach their polling stations,” Isaac observed.
“Some of the ballot boxes were placed on tables which made it difficult for voters in wheelchairs to put their ballots without the help of others,” Isaac added. He also noted that the disabled were mostly helped by other voters and army and security forces.
Ahmed said other countries provide ballot boxes at suitable height especially designed for the physically challenged: “I requested the providence of these facilities from the High Presidential Election Commission (HPEC).”
“I also requested the names or numbers of the presidential candidates to be in written in Braille in the ballot so that voters with visual disability can touch and mark their candidate but HPEC said it is expensive,” Ahmed said.
He noted that a lot of money was spent on the campaign, and there should be special preparations for the disabled to facilitate their voting process.
Regarding violations, Isaac said a judge in one of the polling stations refused to let the companion with the disabled man help him in the polling station, even though HPEC allowed escorts to be with disabled voters.
“Some of the physically challenged voter’s names were not found in the electoral lists at some polling stations,” Isaac said.