An Accessibility Programme for Electoral Processes
- Electoral Justice Accessibility Programme
- Superior Electoral Court of Brazil
- Country of Implementation
- Latin America & Caribbean
- South America
- Start Year
- First published
“The programme is an outstanding example of public policy that aims for social inclusion and the full exercise of the rights of persons with disabilities.” Justice Rosa Weber, President of the Superior Electoral Court, Brazil
Brazil’s Superior Electoral Court, working with regional Electoral Courts, has developed the “Electoral Justice Accessibility Programme” to make elections more accessible, such as by placing electoral wards in accessible buildings, providing electoral staff that can communicate in sign-language, electronic voting machines accessible for blind voters, and saving the parking spots closer to the voting facilities for persons with disabilities. Approximately 380,000 voters with disabilities benefitted during the 2018 presidential election.
People with disabilities do not have equal access to electoral processes in Brazil, as they experience physical, architectural, communicational and attitudinal barriers in the buildings and wards where elections take place.
Solution, Innovation and Impact
The Electoral Justice Accessibility Programme aims to promote broad and unrestricted access to autonomous participation in electoral processes for people with disabilities. The programme implements such measures as placing electoral wards in accessible buildings and providing them with electronic voting machines that have a Braille keyboard and headphones for blind voters, as well as assigning poll workers who can assist people with hearing impairments. To continuously improve the programme, the Superior Electoral Court collects information on the main advances and challenges in accessible electoral processes by sending out surveys to the regional Electoral Courts. Further, by encouraging voters with disabilities or reduced mobility to communicate their restrictions 90 days prior to the election, resources were provided to facilitate the needs of these voters. In 2018, of the more than 940,000 voters with disabilities in Brazil, over 380,000 benefited from this policy. In addition, the programme aims to remove the physical and communicational barriers in all 479,000-plus polling stations throughout Brazil; and in so doing, citizens learn about the value of accessibility in their schools and other public places.
Funding, Outlook and Transferability
The Electoral Justice Accessibility Programme is funded by the government’s general budget. The programme works closely with public and private entities to discuss architectural and engineering adaptations in buildings where electoral sites and entities are located and for the overall promotion of the rights of persons with disabilities. To continually address the barriers to electoral processes, each year the Electoral Courts are required to submit to the Superior Electoral Court a report on the measures taken to meet the programme’s goals as stated in Resolution No. 23381/2012. In the long term, the Brazilian population will benefit from the diversity by having larger, active and effective participation of persons with disabilities.