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1 ENSURING ACCESSIBLE AND INCLUSIVE VOTING FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (PWD), WITH A PARTICULAR FOCUS ON THE UNIVERSAL BALLOT TEMPLATE (UBT) Zero Project.

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Presentation on theme: "1 ENSURING ACCESSIBLE AND INCLUSIVE VOTING FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (PWD), WITH A PARTICULAR FOCUS ON THE UNIVERSAL BALLOT TEMPLATE (UBT) Zero Project."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 ENSURING ACCESSIBLE AND INCLUSIVE VOTING FOR PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES (PWD), WITH A PARTICULAR FOCUS ON THE UNIVERSAL BALLOT TEMPLATE (UBT) Zero Project Conference Innovative practice 2015 Vienna, Austria By: Libisi Maphanga

2 Discussion Points 1.Introduction 2.Institutional Background and Legal Framework 3.Assistance During Voting 4.The Universal Ballot Template (UBT) 5.Usage of The UBT 6.How The UBT Works 7.Who Can Use The UBT 8.Usage Experience 9.Outlook and Transferability

3 Background and Introduction Electoral Commission of South Africa is election management body; established In terms of Section 190 of the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa (Act 108 of 1996); and, Independent of government and report directly to parliament Aims and functions 1.manage elections of national, provincial and municipal legislative bodies in accordance with national legislation); 2.ensure that those elections are free and fair; and, 3.Declare the results of those elections within the prescribed periods

4 Duties and Functions (cont.) The duties and functions of the Electoral Commission are defined in section 5 of the Electoral Commission Act, These include – 1.Manage any elections; 2.Ensure that the elections are free and fair; 3.Compile and maintain a voters' roll; 4.compile and maintain a register of parties; 5.Promote knowledge of sound and democratic electoral processes; 6.Promote conditions conducive to free and fair elections; 7.Declare results of elections, etc.

5 Legal Framework and Conventions South Africa ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPWD) and its Optional Protocol without any reservation in 2007; This rights are institutionalised through legislations and regulations, in the Constitution and the Electoral Act; The Electoral Commission has committed to meaningfully upholding and progressively realising and improving the rights and duties of all citizens to exercise the universal right to register to vote, as well as the right to vote in public on equal terms with others; Accordingly, the Commission adopts a responsive and empathetic posture when engaging with and providing services to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs);

6 Voting Accessibility Accessibility of facilities; Use public facilities; Accessible systems; Easy and reachable voting stations; Home visits and special votes; Voting stations within the community and within short distances; No physical obstacles such as rivers, highways, mountains, etc.; Accessible to PWD’s (ramps, UBT, etc.).

7 UBT Templates

8 Cardboard UBT Version

9 Universal Ballot Template (UBT) The Universal Ballot Template (UBT) is a voting aid made of hard black plastic and/or cardboard into which a ballot paper is inserted. The right front of the template has a flap that has cut-out windows numbered in braille and in large, raised white print. When the ballot paper is inserted into the template, each window aligns to a particular candidate or party, and the voter is free to make his or her secret and independent mark accurately. This can be used by blind and partially-sighted people, low- vision users, people who are dyslexic, the elderly, people with low literacy, and people with motor and nervous conditions that do not allow for a steady hand.

10 Solution Methodology The UBT is aligned with the ballot such that each candidate/party's voting block is aligned to a specific hole on the template. In this way the voter can simply look (through counting or reading) for the space of their preferred candidate, thus minimizing the risk of spoiling the ballot paper through human error. Importantly, the UBT also removes the need for assistance by another person, thereby preserving the individual’s right to a secret ballot.

11 Aim and Purpose The aim of the UBT is to assist voters with disabilities to vote independently without the assistance of another person. Every person should have the right to vote secretly, and this is only possible with the use of the UBT. The UBT is product of collaborations between the Electoral Commission and organisations for PWD‘s and more specifically the South African National Council for the Blinds (SANCB), who have participated in the design, the training and production. Made available at all Voting(Polling) Stations and including home visits

12 Use of the UBT The UBT has been used in the following: National and Provincial Elections; Local Government (Municipality) Elections; By-elections; Usage Experience to date: 1.Local Government Elections in 2011; 2.National and Provincial Elections in More than by-elections since May Continue to be a critical part of the elections bill of material of material for all future elections.

13 How The UBT Works 1.The instructions on the use of the UBT appear in raised print on the back of the template. 2.The UBT is flat with raised ridges along three sides to hold a ballot paper firmly in place. 3.The left front of the template is flat and open. 4.The right front forms a flap, under which the ballot paper is to be inserted. 5.The ballot paper fits into the template from the open, unridged area at the bottom. 6.For people with eye-sight challenges – the top right-hand corner of the ballot paper is cut, enabling a blind person to position the ballot paper without assistance 7.Once the ballot paper is inserted and aligns with the very top of the template, the cut-out windows on the flap will contain the marking blocks on the ballot paper where the voter’s mark needs to be made.

14 Who Can Use the UBT User of the UBT could be the following: 1.Blind and partially-sighted people 2.Low-vision users 3.People who are dyslexic 4.The elderly 5.People with low literacy 6.People with motor and nervous conditions which do not allow for a steady hand

15 Adaptation and Transferability 1.The concept can be easily copied and used by any and all election management bodies. The most important design consideration is alignment with the ballot design; 2.The rest is a matter of training and familiarization as well as logistic considerations; 3.Costs are relative, and will depend on volume and manufacture; 4.In South Africa the UBT was manufactured at approximately $1 for the cardboard unit and $2 for the plastic one; 5.It is durable and reusable is retained.

16 Voting Accessibility “The UBT is one of the best examples of collaboration and partnering in the pursuit of making voting and elections easy and accessible to all our people, especially the disadvantaged, the sick, and those living with disabilities.” — Mosotho Moepya, Chief Electoral Officer

17 UBT Templates END


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