By now, it is common knowledge that the August 9th round of elections in Haiti was rife with voter suppression. Probably lesser-known is the difficulty faced by voters with disabilities on that day. An observer team of 30 Haitians with disabilities went to 15 polling stations to see how accessible they were for voters with disabilities. They knew that the voting centers were probably not accessible but were surprised to see the extent of the problem themselves. This observer team will be releasing a report, along with recommendations for the Electoral Council to work on this problem.
Part of the article is below. Click HERE for the full text.
First Pilot Observation on Election Accessibility for Persons with Disabilities Held in Haiti
Virginia Atkinson, International Foundation for Electoral Systems
September 2, 2015
During the legislative elections held on August 9, 2015, a pilot team of 30 Haitians with disabilities conducted Haiti’s first election access observation at 15 polling stations across the city of Port-au-Prince. Observers scrutinized the schools and marketplaces selected as polling stations by the Provisional Electoral Council (Conseil Électoral Provisoire, or CEP) to determine how accessible and inclusive voting procedures were for persons with disabilities on Election Day.
With support from the Haitian Office of the Secretary of State for the Integration of Persons with Disabilities (Bureau du Secrétaire d’Etat à l’Intégration des Personnes Handicappées, or BSEIPH), the International Foundation for Electoral Systems and the U.S. Agency for International Development, the observers watched CEP staff serve voters amid noise and crowds on a hot summer day. They kept track of how many voters and staff were persons with disabilities and quietly regarded the physical structure of the polling stations, spotting common issues such as uneven stairs, dimly-lit voting rooms with little privacy and ballot boxes that were placed too high to reach for some voters. Comments were jotted down on an observation checklist written in Creole, a checklist that the observers had helped to adapt to Haiti three weeks prior.
Click HERE for the full text.