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The Fijian Elections Office (FEO) has modified the method for voting by persons living with disabilities in order to enable effective disability participation during this year’s polls.
Supervisor of Elections Mohammed Saneem made this announcement on Tuesday, saying the FEO had sought legal opinion for the new procedures after Parliament passed the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act and ratified the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities earlier this year.
He said under the new procedure, persons living with disabilities had the opportunity to appoint a person of their choice to help them in marking the ballot papers.
Saneem said it would be imperative for the appointee to be a registered voter and would help the person living with disability to mark their ballot paper inside the polling station on election day or during pre-poll.
He said a presiding officer appointed by the FEO would also be overseeing the process of assistance being provided by this person selected by the voter.
“This change in the procedure is to align the FEO in accordance with the requirement of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities Act as well as the Convention of the Rights of Persons with Disabilities,” Saneem said.
Saneem said the FEO had consulted disabled persons organisations in relation to this procedure prior to the approval process.
“So on election day or during pre-poll, persons living with disabilities now have the opportunity to elect a person of their choice — who has to be a registered voter — to assist them in marking the ballot papers,” he said.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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