Inquirer.net posted this headline in their technology section. It says that

The Commission on Elections (Comelec) will invite bloggers to cover the 2010 elections, from the preparations up to the proclamation of winners, James Jimenez, a spokesman for the poll body said.

According to the poll body, they will be formulating a “framework of cooperation” with the blogging community to cover key points in the elections such as voter education and field testing of counting machines.

Although I cannot consider myself as a “seasoned blogger” because I only started collecting my thoughts into words last year, still I may be able to point out some inadequacies the government might overlook during this very crucial election. Most especially now because it’s the first time the “full automation” system will take place.

However, I may only identify these shortfalls from the perspective and experiences of Persons with Disabilities. They might not be a great force to reckon with nor a vote block to depend upon to increase the candidate’s chances of winning. Still they are citizens who have rights and should exercise them without malice and prejudice.

They may not need major facility reconstructions. They don’t require special treatments and pamperings. A reasonable accommodation is more than enough for them to use their rights.

The United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD) defines Reasonable Accommodation as

means necessary and appropriate modification and adjustments NOT imposing a disproportionate or undue burden, where needed in a particular case, to ensure to persons with disabilities the enjoyment or exercise on an equal basis with others of all human rights and fundamental freedoms;

You don’t need the entire polling precinct to be transferred from the third floor of a school building to the ground floor just to accommodate a wheelchaired or mobility impaired voter. Since the ballots are already computerized, he may be given a form to be filled up downstairs. Someone whom he trusts can then bring the form to be fed to the computer. Having him cast his vote in the ground floor polling booth is even better since all the computer machines are networked nationwide. The software can readily adjust to the convenience of every voter.

A visually impaired voter most likely has a sighted one accompanying him while he votes. He might need a ballot on a braille format. But a poll volunteer will be enough to assist him in answering the ballot.

A deaf voter has no problem moving around. What he needs are proper signages and guide posts as to where he would go and know what to do.

We can either ignore them or assist them. Whichever way, we must acknowledge that “if we have rights, they have rights, too“.🙂

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