The Northern Regional Directorate of the Electoral Commission (EC), has trained members of the Ghana Blind Union, to use tactile ballots to vote in the forthcoming December 17 local government elections and referendum.
The move by the EC was to ensure that people with visual impairment were not denied the opportunity to exercise their franchise in identifying and voting for candidates of their choice.
The training, held in Tamale, formed part of the EC’s lines of actions to educate members of the public, including visually impaired persons on the upcoming District Level Elections (DLEs) and the referendum, and future elections in order to enhance their participation.
It was dubbed: “Enhancing the participation of visually impaired voters in the 2019 District Assembly and Unit Committee Elections and the Referendum”.
The EC said it was currently collating statistics on the number of visually impaired persons at the various polling centres in the Northern region, to enable it know the number of tactile jackets to be issued out on the day of elections.
It announced that visually impaired persons could participate in the elections with the help of a relative or polling officers at post if they could not use the tactile jacket to vote.
Ghana will on December 17, 2019, go to the polls to elect new Assembly and Unit Committee members and also seek to amend article 55 (3) of the 1992 Constitution to enable political parties participate in the DLEs.
Mr Lucas Aamwaa Yiryel, the Acting Northern Regional Director of the EC, explained that the referendum was a Constitutional requirement, which would strengthen democratic governance in the country, and encouraged all groups, including visually impaired persons to actively participate in the process.
He said for the amendment of article 55 (3) to be successfully done, the referendum must record 40 per cent voter turnout and out of that number, 75 per cent must vote “Yes” to confirm the proposal.
The Acting Regional Director said the participants’ full participation in the DLEs would ensure good turnout, and gave the assurance that the EC had put in place measures to make it easier for them to participate in the elections.
Mr Emmanuel Abeam Danso, Deputy Northern Regional Director of the EC, explained to the participants that it was currently not legal for political parties to sponsor the candidature of any individual in the District Assembly elections, and said that was what the referendum sought to amend to allow political parties to participate in the DLEs.
He encouraged persons with disabilities to get involved in the nationwide exercise without fear of being discriminated against.