OSCE Presence helps blind people vote in Albania’s general elections

OSCE Presence helps blind people vote in Albania’s general elections

Tirana, May 27, 2013

The OSCE Presence in Albania is helping some 2,000 visually impaired people to vote in the 23 June parliamentary elections, by holding training events on the use of assistive voting devices, electoral procedures and access to voting centres. The first course started today in Tirana (photo).

Two dozen blind people will be trained in the two-day event. They will, in turn, train their peers across the country.

“Elections are the departure point for the full inclusion of persons with disabilities in the political life of a country,” said the Head of Presence, Ambassador Eugen Wollfarth at the event. “The removal of any barriers to vote is a prerequisite for the participation of all in the public and political life.”

People’s Advocate Igli Totozani and the Chair of the Central Election Commission, Lefterie Lleshi, also addressed the event participants.

The training is part of a project run by the OSCE Presence to provide voter education for people with disabilities, funded by the German Government, and implemented in close co-operation with the Central Election Commission and the Albanian Association of the Blind.

The OSCE Presence in Albania also assisted visual impaired people in the 2005 and 2007 elections through provision of special voting materials such as Braille masks. /ibna/