KOGI, Nigeria – Ahead of the November 16 governorship election in Kogi State, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on Monday, said it has commenced training of visually impaired voters on how to use braille ballot guide and magnifying glasses on election day.
The INEC Director in charge of civil society organisations, Mrs Dorothy Bello, stated this while speaking at the opening of the training/sensitisation workshop in Lokoja on Monday.
The director, however, said that the training was designed for visually impaired not well versed in the use of braille, NAN reports.
She said that the training necessary because of the realisation that voting could be particularly difficult for the visually impaired voters, adding that ballot papers were not produced with their disability in mind.
Bello further said that the efforts would help in reducing the number of invalid votes among the visually impaired electorate.
According to her, the move will also guarantee their rights to vote independently and secretly as required by the law.
She explained that the sensitisation of this class of voters was in line with efforts by the INEC to ensure inclusive balloting and remove barriers in their ways.
The Resident Electoral Commissioner in the state, Prof. James Apam, said that the participants were selected from across the 21 local government areas of the state.
He said that they would, up return to their various local governments, were expected to train other visually impaired voters, on how to use braille ballot guide and magnifying glasses on election day.
Apam expressed the confidence that all the visually impaired registered voters will be trained before the election day with the help of civil society organisations.
The state Chairman of the Joint Association of People Living With Disabilities, Mr Solomon Yahaya, described the exercise as timely, saying it would ensure full participation of visually impaired voters in the election.
Yahaya commended INEC for steps taken to include blind persons in the electoral process to further boost public confidence in its activities.