Innovative Policy 2019 on Independent Living and Political Participation

New guidelines are making Mexican elections accessible

Instituto Nacional Electoral (INE), the government body that organizes elections in Mexico and works to create suitable conditions so that all groups can participate, has instituted a set of mandatory guidelines entitled the Protocol for the Inclusion of Persons with Disabilities. The guidelines include requirements for the availability of Braille ballots, improved physical access for people with mobility impairments, and polling stations in hospitals. In the July 2018 elections, approximately 90,000 voters benefitted from the protocol.

“Participating helped me a lot morally, it gave me confidence and that is why on the next elections I´m going to seek to run as an independent candidate for local congressman.”

Salvador Herrera Molinaa beneficiary
About the policy at a glance
Laws and regulations involved:INE/CG161/2017
Responsible Body:Instituto Nacional Electoral
Country
of Implementation
Mexico

FACTS & FIGURES

  • As of 2018, over 320 people and more than 20 civil society organizations were trained in the simulations.
  • Some 1.4 million Mexicans have been trained to participate as polling officials.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

People with disabilities in Mexico are not always considered in terms of their right to vote, such as the need to provide accessible electoral facilities and appropriate voter educational materials.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

A woman with disability deposits her marked paper ballot in the ballot labeled “Presidency of the Republic” in a voting drill

In 2017 INE México passed a mandatory national protocol that includes a range of measures to support the inclusion of persons with disabilities in elections. These include guidelines to facilitate access and movement in polling stations, electoral materials that promote Braille ballots, and the setting-up of polling stations in hospitals. Further, they include simulations to increase the effective exercise of the right to vote for people with intellectual and psychosocial disabilities; promoting communicational accessibility through subtitles in televised messages and the use of sign language at debates and public speaking events; and an accessible website.

Three documents have been published to promote the policy:

  • a protocol for the inclusion of people with disabilities as officials of the Polling Boards;
  • training materials for Polling Board officials to address persons with disabilities correctly; and
  • a protocol for the Citizens Attention Modules (list of voting places and guidelines for voting) of the INE.

As of 2018, over 320 people and more than 20 civil society organiations were trained during the simulations. Additionally, 1.4 million citizens were trained to participate as polling officials following these electoral inclusion protocols.

OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

Implementation of the policy is fully funded by INE México and covers all costs, including sensitization and socialisation events, training of staff, and polling station materials.

The INE is looking to improve the protocol further, including increasing awareness of electoral political rights among people with disabilities by encouraging citizen participation. Other actions include requiring political parties to make their materials inclusive, creating a video explaining the handbook for people with disabilities, and promoting affirmative action so that people with disabilities can be nominated as candidates and have access to public office.

All the protocols and guidelines are freely available to any country that might wish to replicate them.

In the State of Campeche an Assisting Electoral Trainer visits the home of a woman with a motor disability.

FACTSHEET

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