KINGSTON — Director of Elections, Orrett Fisher, is advising the disabled community that they have rights, as do other electors, to get assistance in order to vote on Election Day at polling stations.
Speaking at the recent Monthly Rap Session organized by the Combined Disabilities Association (CDA) and the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities (JCPD), at the Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) in Kingston, Mr. Fisher assured that the groups that they have all the rights of other citizens.
“The law provides for you to be assisted in casting your ballot,” he emphasized.
While noting that the Electoral Office of Jamaica’s (ECJ) head office has been rearranged to accommodate persons with disabilities, he explained that these arrangements would pose logistical challenges at some of the other offices.
“We do not own these buildings, we rent them. So, it would not be practical for us to invest significant amount of Government funds, (and) to be given notice within months,” the Director said.
He told the gathering that, currently, they don’t require persons to state their state-of-being at the time of registration, but it will be considered for the future, so that planning can be done to have polling stations suitable for disabled persons.
“If we could access, for example, get information as to where persons with disabilities are registered to vote…and we find where there is a concentration in a particular polling station,” he explained.
“We could ensure that the polling station is on the ground floor. We could also attempt to build a wooden ramp for access to that polling station but, unless we have that information, we would not be able to take that action,” Mr. Fisher said.
By Garfield Angus, JIS Reporter