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23.09.2004 Politics

Tactile balloting to help blind voters in Election 2004

By GNA

Ho, Sept. 23, GNA - As many blind voters as possible are to be introduced to tactile balloting to enable them to cast their vote in secret and with the minimum of help from their guides during the December elections.

Mr Elizar Tetteh Plahar, Director of the Ghana Association of the Blind (GAB), said this in Ho on Thursday during a training session for the blind in the Ho District.

The programme is being organised by the GAB in conjunction with Action on Disability and Development (ADD)- Ghana. It is jointly supported by USAID and UNDP at a total cost 110,000 US dollars.

He said under the programme, the sponsors would provide tactile folders to the Electoral Commission, which would be supplied to all polling stations to facilitate voting procedures by blind voters. Mr Plahar said all ballot papers for the election were to meet specifications that would facilitate the easy use of both the sighted and unsighted.

The tactile folders would have nodules representing numbers to help the blind to pick by touch, numbers corresponding to candidates of their choice in both the presidential and parliamentary elections.

Mr Plahar said blind persons who benefited from the training were expected to train their colleagues during their ordinary meetings. Mr Stephen Dzokpata, a representative of the Ho District Directorate of the Electoral Commission (EC) took the participants through a mock voting based on tactile voting procedure. He said the blind were expected to know the numbers of their choices before coming to the polling stations to enable them to vote without being directed by anybody.

Mr Dzokpata said if there should be any need for help it should be from the Presiding Officer at the Polling Station and not the guide.

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