The Edo Association of the Deaf has tasked the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) on the use of electronic voting (e-voting) technology in the conduct of future elections.
Mr Kingsley Eromosele, Chairman of the association in the state, made the call during an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Benin on Wednesday via text messaging.
Eromosele, while expressing concerns about the participation of deaf people in the just concluded Feb. 25 and March 18 general elections, said that most deaf voters could not access their polling units.
He said the deployment of e-voting, apart from the benefit of reducing the cost of conducting an election, could also provide improved access for voters with disabilities.
“I earnestly long for the day INEC will make use of e-voting. Some deaf voters, who wanted to exercise their franchise couldn’t locate their polling units because of a lack of assistive devices.
“E-voting is voting that uses electronic means to either aid or take care of casting and counting ballots,” he said.
Eromosele explained that the association had to liaise with the INEC Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) Desk Officer in Edo to have an improved participation in the March 18 election.
“Some deaf persons reached out to the association about the difficulty in accessing their polling units during the Feb 25 election.
“So, we reached out to INEC PWD Desk Officer, and a link was sent to us where deaf voters could click to locate their polling units.
“We were able to use the link to train some of us on how to locate our voting centres during the March 18 election,” the chairman said.
He noted, however, that members of the association were able to vote in the state Assembly election, better than the Presidential and National Assembly elections due to support from the INEC.
He further tasked the electoral body on the provision of sign language interpreters as well as EC40H forms for PWDs during future polls.