For the first time, Braille EPIC cards were prepared and issued to visually impaired voters in Karnataka in an attempt to make elections more inclusive.
Voters will be using the cards in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections in 2019.
The Braille EPIC cards were issued to Basavaraj from Jewargi in Kalaburgi, Irappa Hejagar from Gokak in Belagavi and Vina from Harihar in Davangere district.
The trio were given the specially made EPIC cards by Election Commissioner Sunil Arora, Deputy Election Commissioner Umesh Sinha and Chief Electoral Officer, Karnataka Sanjiv Kumar.
The cards were issued with the aim of making the elections accessible to all voters. Voters who received the Braille EPIC cards informed that all of them voted during the recently held state Assembly elections in Karnataka. The voters also mentioned that they were happy with the arrangements made for physically challenged voters during the elections.
Meanwhile, the Election Commission is planning to make the elections more accessible for physically challenged people with a series of further measures. The Commission has already announced that it has decided to establish auxiliary polling stations for people with disabilities during the election. Moreover, coordinators would be appointed at assembly constituency, district and state level for the purpose of smooth running of elections for people with disabilities.
The Election Commission also plans to introduce all its election-related awareness material in accessible formats for those who are physically challenged. A mobile application too will be launched for persons with disabilities to involve them fully in the election process. On the day of polling, persons with disabilities and their attendants will be able to avail free public transport, as per a report by Deccan Herald.
The slew of measures are being introduced for the first time in elections in India, and officials hope that it will lead to an increase in voter turnout for persons with disabilities.