The Chin State Election Commission plans to construct more than 30 ballot stations accessible to people with disabilities so that voters with wheelchairs can participate in Burma’s general election on November 8.
There are a total of 3,031 people in the state who are eligible to vote who also have disabilities, according to the election commission.
Lin Kyaw, the commission’s secretary, said that they would create 37 ballot stations for these individuals in eight townships in Chin State—all except Paletwa, which continues to be the site of armed conflict between the Burma Army and Arakan Army.
“These ballot stations may not be perfect but we will build a sloped path for disabled people with wheelchairs. We will fix the road. We will make special desks for them [to fill out their ballots],” Lin Kyaw said, adding, “We will make things easy for them to vote at the ballot station.”
The election commission urged disability rights groups and other civil society organizations to participate in the initiative.
Joshua, the director of the Disability Development Initiative (DDI), said that he welcomes the commission’s project, and pointed out that it would ideally be done in cooperation with organizations like DDI.
“People with disabilities know what they really need. If they are going to build a special facility for disabled people, we welcome it,” he said. “I think it will be more effective if disabled people participate in the implementation of the plan. It will be much better if disabled people and the election commission work together.”
He added that voting conditions had gradually improved since the first general election in 2015.
In the 2017 by-elections, the Chin State Election Commission built a special ballot station for people with disabilities in Thantlang Township.
According to the commission, there are more than 340,000 eligible voters in Chin State for the 2020 general election.