The Inclusive Friends Association (IFA) on Friday 29th October 2021 trained 50 blind voters on the use of a braille ballot guide in Anambra State.
IFA through its advocacies to INEC after the Polling Unit Accessibility Audit in Edo and Ondo governorship elections identified several barriers in the electoral process.
Amongst these barriers was the inaccessibility for blind voters to cast their ballot independently. This further necessitated advocacies for a Braille Ballot Guide (BBG) which was birthed and piloted during the 2018 Osun governorship elections.
INEC has since then sustained the deployment of the braille ballot guide in other elections and will be doing the same during the November 6th, 2021 Anambra elections.
The IFA considered the need to train leaders and some members of the National Association of the Blind (NAB) Anambra chapter with the understanding that some blind voters in Anambra will for the first time be noticing and using the braille ballot guide.
IFA’s Executive Director, Grace Jerry, while giving an overview on the effective utilization of the braille ballot guide, emphasized the need to note the alphabetically arranged order of parties on a ballot before printing their thumb on the desired candidate’s party.
Jerry equally used the opportunity to encourage participants to shun voter apathy and exercise their franchise notwithstanding the security challenges experienced as IFA is making a case for all disability clusters with the security agencies to ensure a safe election in the state.
“Anambra has been making the news a lot because of the insecurity. IFA has been engaging the security agencies at the national level and will be meeting with the state commands here in Anambra to ensure that the lives of voters including PWDs are safe. That shouldn’t discourage you from coming out to vote, it’s important that you exercise your franchise..“
The IFA team at the training took participants through basic features of the braille ballot guide using the previous ones used in past elections.
Participants appreciated the process and were super excited that they will be able to cast their votes independently as against previous elections.