Press release: Disability is not inability: OSCE Mission to Montenegro delivers training workshop for municipal electoral commissions
OSCE Mission to Montenegro, Association of Youth with Disabilities and The Union of Blind of Montenegro delivered a training workshop for the representatives of the municipal electoral commissions of Cetinje and Petnjica.
Chairs of the Municipal Electoral Commissions spoke about their experience in improving the accessibilty of polling stations and voting materials as well as the challenges they encounter in the process.
‘’We undertook all actions to ensure a greater accessibility of polling stations in Cetinje on 5 December. In addition, we held talks with the municipal electoral commissions of Herceg Novi and Nikšić who held elections earlier this year to hear more about what these MECs did to make polling stations more accessible to people with disabilities’’, said Marko Brnovic, Chair of Cetinje MEC.
Adis Duraković, Chair of Petnjica MEC said he visited all polling stations in Petnjica. He added that the MEC is dedicated to achieving a greater accessibility of polling stations.
Marina Vujačić, the Executive Director of Association of Youth with Disabilities said that regardless of how small a constituency is – election management bodies should not assume whether people with disabilities will vote in elections and where. She added that disability goes beyond the perception of what we can see, so accessibility should be provided equally at each polling station. Vujačić said that people who had been deprived of legal capacity are now registered to vote and will be able to vote in local elections this year. ‘’We are working alongside the OSCE Mission to Montenegro and the Ministry of Interior to raise the awareness of the right to vote for people who are deprived of legal capacity’’, said Vujačić.
Katarina Bigović from The Union of Blind of Montenegro said that tactile devices that were been used in earlier elections did not ensure secrecy of the ballot for people with visual impairements. She warned that polling station staff should not make assessments on whether voters require a tactile device but provide it to all voters who request it. Bigović offered support to the MECs in producing ballot papers in Braille’s alphabet so that people with visual impairements can read more about the candidates before they vote.
Darko Brajović, a National Programme officer at the OSCE Mission to Montenegro said that discrimination on the basis of disability is a violation of the inherent dignity and that everyone should work towards making sure everyone can vote in elections.
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