Disabled people vote with comfort in Venezuela

The Venezuelan electronic voting system has been used as an example by institutions and government, because of its safety and reliability, but continues to improve. The Venezuelan National Electoral Council is on track to pay off a few debts it has with voters, to enhance the voting experience of citizens with physical or motor limitations.

In recent years, Smartmatic, the leading provider of technology for the Venezuelan electoral body, has offered its voting technology to other countries, to facilitate voting for people with disabilities.

This year, the CNE has continued its work with the National Council for Persons with Disabilities (Conapdis) to include all people with any limitation on the voting. For this, the registration and data-updating day in the current Electoral Register process, involves explicit call to voters’ assistance. For this, 1300 mobile points were deployed in the 24 Venezuelan states or federal agencies, which will operate until December 2011.

The main leader of the CNE, Tania D’Amelio explained that in the data fields that include the Electoral Register, containing the intended to specify whether the voter has a physical or mobility disability. She also said that Conapdis played a key role, since that agency was responsible for naming and defining the limitations and disabilities to the fields of the register of voters.

Also, as D’Amelio explained, who also belongs to the Commission on Civil Registration and Electoral CNE, Conapdis will provide incentives to citizens with disabilities to come to the sites allocated by the electoral body, to update their details.

Completed the process, the CNE estimates that at the beginning of 2012 it may have an approximate of the voters who may have physical and motor disabilities to efficiently dispose of the 12.000 SAES 4200 voting machines that will be acquired for next year’s presidential election. These machines have adaptations that allow people with limitations, to exercise their right to vote with dignity.

The machines are designed to address limitations as low or null literacy, ocular diseases, mental illness, and motor problems, among other conditions. Voters are led throughout the voting process with built-in audio system to cast their votes independently. For this, the machines have a control that includes headphones, buttons with different shapes, colors and sizes, Braille display and a device to sip and puff for voters with mobility limitations.

Additionally, for people with limited proficiency in the official language of the country, computers can be easily enabled in multiple languages, if the electoral power of the country so requires.

Technological improvements of voting machines that will be first used in Venezuela, will impact the persons with disabilities safety, as they will no longer have to rely on the help of others to vote. This development will constitute a strong pace to raise the back of the automated system, increase participation and strengthen the country as well as a reference in the use and application of electronic voting in the hemisphere.

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