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25 Mar 2015

System in development to allow blind Belarusians to vote

MINSK, 25 March (BelTA) – The Central Commission for Elections and National Referendums of Belarus intends to introduce a system to allow people with impaired vision to vote during the forthcoming presidential election, BelTA learned from the Commission’s Chairwoman Lidia Yermoshina on 25 March.

“We are considering ways to take care of people, who cannot cast votes without assistance. In particular, we cooperate with the blind association to work out voting procedures for the citizens, who cannot see at all or whose vision is impaired,” noted Lidia Yermoshina.

Special stencil plates will be ordered for such citizens and the ballots will be inserted into the stencil plates. “The citizens will then be able to enter voting booths and cast their votes. Special agitation documents will be produced using the Braille alphabet in order to allow those, who use the alphabet, to peruse these documents,” said the CEC Chairwoman. Apart from that, the website of the Central Election Commission will be modified to enable better usability for people with impaired vision. “As you can see Belarus is now part of the global trend in favor of assisting people with limited physical capabilities,” she noted.

Asked about peculiarities of the forthcoming presidential election, Lidia Yermoshina noted that the key peculiarity will be who is going to take part in the election as a candidate or at least intends to apply for candidacy. Speaking about novelties, the official noted that the candidates can now use an increased personal fund, will be able to set up the fund as soon as their initiative group is registered (before their candidacy is approved) and will be able to finance the operation of their initiative group. “The government will not give them money to make pre-election agitation products but will take care of getting such information products into the mailboxes of every voter,” she said.

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