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Accessibility Still An Issue In Mamuju

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Written by agendaasia.org

image Accessibility Still An Issue In MamujuBy: Riri Rafiani, PPUA Penca

For their second electoral monitoring, the AGENDA team set out to Mamuju, the capital city of West Sulawesi Province. This region saw its second provincial election on asunny day on October 10, 2011.

Similar methods used in the Yogyakarta election monitoring were adopted in Mamuju. Over 30 polling stations in three sub-districts from downtown Mamuju to the city suburbs were selected. Thirty volunteers consisting of disabled and non-disabled persons were recruited to help AGENDA with this activity.Thirty-six respondents (voters with disability) were interviewed for their opinion.

 

Not surprisingly, the resultsshowed that the electoral process has yet to take into account considerations of accessibility. Almost all polling stations were located in areas wheelchair users might find difficult to navigate, including in a building with stairwaysand in the middle of a grassy field.The tables in the voting booth and for the ballot box did not meet the standard measurement foreasy access. Some polling stations were not well arranged and made it difficult for people to move around.

However, despite the shortcomings, the local Election Committee did make an effort to facilitate disabled voters. In each polling station, an assistive device was provided for the visually impaired persons to vote. Even though the device did not meet the regulation standards, the effort is commendable consideringthat such device is not legally required for the election at regency level.

The result of the monitoring revealed that the election was well executed, with very few problems that did not have any impact on the disabled voters. Nevertheless, many areas are still in need of improvement for everyone to exercise their political rights independently.

Mamuju has a population of 300,000, with approximately 200,000 residents are eligible to vote. The exact number of disabled voters cannot be determined due to the lack of data.

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