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Elections 2022: Breakdown of voting process for the visually impaired

Chebukati breaks down the voting process for blind voters

[FILE] An Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) agent sorts ballot papers and boxes on October 25, 2017, at a polling station in Nairobi, a day before the scheduled repeat presidential poll.  (Photo BY SIMON MAINA/AFP via Getty Images)

The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has made a clarification on the voting process, especially for Kenyan visually impaired voters.

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IEBC chairperson Wafula Chebukati says the Commission has not added features on ballot papers for use by the blind voters in the upcoming elections, noting that blind voters will need the assistance of IEBC authorized and trained personnel who will help them in the process.

Chebukati said the budget allocated to the Commission could not allow them to factor in all the requirements for people living with disabilities.

He, however, conveyed that future elections were going to be more mindful of the community.

“We would like to introduce braille ballot papers in future elections but we did not have a budget for that this time. We shall factor it in our budget and in future elections we shall ensure that we have braille material especially ballot papers, if we will still be using them,” noted Chebukati.

The Commission’s personnel to assist the visually impaired voters will swear to keep the choice of the voter a secret.

“The presiding officer is trained in such a way that the vote will be kept secret, only the agent will stand behind just to listen in to what the presiding officer will ask the voter for example which candidate to select,” Deputy Commission Secretary Ruth Kulundu clarified.

Chebukati however lauded the miles stones the commission had achieved in having an all-inclusive electoral process.

"As a Commission, we have actually moved a step ahead like we have voter education material in braille," said Chebukati.

The IEBC is in the tail end of preparations for the polls which are only three weeks away. Campaigns that are at their peak are expected to officially close on August 6, three days before D-day.

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