Persons with Disabilities 2020
CEC Working Group for Persons with Disabilities
In order to promote the existence of equal voting environment for persons with disabilities, by the ordinance of CEC Chairperson is created a working group. The working group is composed of representatives of elections administration, international and domestic non-governmental organizations, state entities and Public Defender of Georgia (invited representatives of relevant agencies dealing with people with disabilities).
The coordination of the working group is run by the Coordination, Planning and Reporting Department of CEC. The working group operates in accordance with the Statement of the Working Group for Persons with Disabilities, verified by the Chairperson of CEC. The activities related to persons with disabilities are also included in the Annual Action Plan of CEC.
Who can participate in the CEC Working Group on Issues of Persons with Disability?
Representatives of non-entrepreneurial (non-commercial) legal entities that have experience working on electoral issues for voters with disabilities may participate in the work of the Working Group.
How one gets into the working group??
A representative of a non-profit (non-commercial) legal entity formally submits a written request to the CEC Chairperson that the organization wishes to participate in the CEC Working Group on Persons with Disabilities. In addition to the letter, the organization must submit:
- Information on experience of working with persons with disabilities and relevant materials / documentation;
- Name, surname, position, contact information (e-mail; mobile phone number) of the person participating in the group.
A beneficiary of support if he/she is placed at an inpatient psychiatric facility under the Law of Georgia on “Psychiatric Assistance”, shall not be qualified to participate in elections, referenda and plebiscites (Election Code of Georgia – Article 3 a.c).
Persons who were declared legally incompetent by the court before 1 April, 2015 and who have been placed in an inpatient facility shall have no right to participate in elections, referenda and plebiscites (Election Code of Georgia – Article 18511).
State entities and municipal bodies shall provide the election precincts with the premises, which will be accessible for every voter. In case such buildings are not available, the building allocated for the election precinct shall, where possible, be adapted for the polling day to ensure accessibility for every voter (Election Code of Georgia – Article 58.11).
CEC ensures the use of technologies that allow voters with vision disabilities to fill in the ballot paper independently (Election Code of Georgia – 63.2).
CEC regulates the voting procedure of persons without upper limbs by an ordinance, according to which:
- Such persons do not go through the inking procedure and do not have their inking checked;
- When distributing a ballot (ballots), the registrar of voters indicates in a written form “physical condition” in the field of “voter’s signature” in the unified voters list and verifies this with personal signature;
- In the voter’s presence, the registrar places the ballot (ballots) into a special envelope, after which the person chosen by the voter, who will also help him/her to fill in the ballot in the voting cabin, places the envelope into the ballot box.
Temporary rules for the participation of voters using wheelchairs in the Parliamentary Elections of Georgia dated on October 31, 2020 (Election Code of Georgia, Article 200.)
Procedure for requesting an adapted /accessible polling station
Who has the right to request an adapted polling station?
Voters using wheelchairs have the right to participate in the October 31, 2020 Parliamentary Elections of Georgia at any adapted / accessible polling station in the territory of the relevant majoritarian constituency.
How many days in advance must a voter using wheelchair apply to the relevant district or precinct election commission to change the polling station?
Voters using wheelchairs must apply to the relevant district or precinct election commission no later than the 6th day before the polling day.
In order to change the polling station, what is the relevant form that a voter using a wheelchair can apply?
To request an adapting pollint station, wheelchair users must apply in writing or oral statement to the relevant district or precinct election commission.
Informing Voters with Disabilities
- The Central Election Commission (CEC) of Georgia ensures the production of the educational video material for persons with disabilities;
- All the videos produced by the CEC during the election period as well as news briefings held on the Election Day are available for deaf and hard of hearing citizens in sign language;
- Deaf and hard on hearing voters, after registering on the CEC’s website, are able to contact the CEC Information Center (via a video call) and request the assistance of a sign language specialist for their respective electoral precinct;
- Blind voters can, via the adaptive CEC website, verify their personal data on the unified list of voters;
- The banner “Election Map”, contains detailed information about the adapted polling stations.
The information regarding the whereabouts of the adapted polling stations, during the 2020 Parliamentary Elections, can be found on the following link (available only in Georgian).
The Election Administration (EA) offers the following services to voters with disabilities participating in the polling:
- For visually impaired voters – two magnifying sheets in every election precinct;
- For voters using wheelchairs – a special booth in the adapted polling stations;
- For voters with deafness, having hearing impairments, and beneficiary of support – the posters describing voting procedure in every election precincts.
Learning course for PWDs to support their Independent participation in elections
Instruction on "supporting independent participation of persons with disabilities in elections" was updated for the October 31, 2020 Parliamentary Elections of Georgia. According to the instruction, the CEC, Electoral Systems Development, Reforms and Training Center in cooperation with the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) developed the distance learning course titled "Support Independent Participation of Persons with Disabilities in Elections". The course aims at awareness raising of Election Administration staff members on etiquette and behavioral norms while communicating the voters with disabilities and the services introduced to ensure their independent participation in elections. Please see the online course: https://electiontraining.cec.ge/
Statistics on Participation of Voters with Disabilities in Elections
Precinct Election Commissions (PECs) ensured maintaining of statistics on the participation of voters with disabilities on 31 October 2020 parliamentary elections (I and II rounds) of Georgia. Production of statistics was carried out by only visual assessment of PWD voters. Therefore, the Central Election Commission (CEC) processed statistical information on voters with disabilities participating in the parliamentary elections based on the information received from the District Election Commissions (DECs); according to which, 3 663 voters with disabilities participated in the first round of elections and 1 105 – in the second round.