A civil society activist, Grace Jerry, has expressed concern over the low participation of Persons With Disabilities in the Continuous Voter Registration exercise which may limit their participation in the 2023 general elections.
Jerry, who is the Executive Director of the advocacy group, Inclusive Friends Association,while making reference to the organization’s research work on the CVR process in 2021, highlighted some possible challenges that limit the participation of PWDs in the registration exercise.
She said “With the outcome of the CVR reports, I’m afraid many citizens with disabilities may not be able to participate in the coming general elections in 2023. We are not comfortable with the manner of registration as most registration centers are not accessible. Also, the upsurge of new registrants at registration centers may discourage PWDs to register as they are likely to experience attitudinal barriers at registration centers.”
“In 2021, we documented some challenges PWDs face during the CVR exercise in our ‘Data for Inclusion’ research: A Pathway for Accessible Continuous Voter Registration’ Report. We gathered that the centralization of registration centers at the commissions’ local government offices discourages PWDs from accessing registration points as distance cost, cost of transportation and other economic factors may not permit their availability for registration.”
Jerry appeals to the commission to honor the recommendation made in the shared report to decentralize the registration centers to Ward levels to ease decongestion and increase PWD participation in the exercise.
The report also captures the disaggregated data of PWDs who register online as 187,904 (1.7%) and 67,171 (0.8%) PWDs had completed their registration.
Grace further calls on persons with disabilities to get involved and fully participate in the CVR exercise against the coming general elections in 2023.
“We, therefore, call on eligible citizens with disabilities who are yet to register to obtain their Permanent Voters’ Card to enjoy this opportunity and register in order to activate the right and exercise your franchise in the coming general elections”
“We will continue to collaborate with CSOs, OPDs, and relevant agencies to provide effective sensitization campaigns and mobilization for PWDs to participate in the Voter Registration exercise.”