Tanjungpinang, Riau Islands (ANTARA) - The Riau Islands General Election Supervisory Committee has urged local general election officials to assist voters with disabilities in casting their ballot during the 2024 general and regional elections.

"Facilities that make it easier for voters with disability to exercise their voting rights must be adequate. Access for disabled voters must also be (secured) so that it can be ensured that they do not lose their right to vote," chairman of the Riau Islands General Election Supervisory Committee, Said Abdullah Dahlawi, said in Tanjungpinang on Saturday.

Voters in poor physical condition have the same voting rights as general voters, he added. Their choices also determine the future of the region and country, so they must not be dismissed.

Their choices cannot be represented by their family members or other people, so general election officials must be made more aware in this regard, he said.

Accurate data on voters with disabilities must be collected to provide the right access and facilities.

"Each person with a disability does not always have the same needs in voting. Therefore, under certain conditions, if necessary, officers who come along with election supervisors go to their homes so that they can exercise their voting rights," he informed.

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Dahlawi said that the protection of voting rights of persons with disabilities has been stipulated in Article 350 Paragraph 2 of Law Number 7 of 2017 concerning Elections, which states that voting locations must be situated in easily accessible places and geographical aspects must be considered when selecting them; further, it must be ensured that all voters can cast their votes in a direct, free, and confidential manner.

"We don't want to hear the (issue of) unfriendly accessibility toward people with disabilities becoming a barrier for them to exercise their voting rights," he added.

A few days ago, a group of people with disabilities from Batam submitted a complaint to the Riau Islands General Election Committee during a meeting held to determine the number of continuous voters. They complained that the number of voters with disabilities was relatively small due to low accessibility.

In response to the complaint, committee member Priyo Handoko said that his administration will work with disabled groups to collect data and note down the physical condition of each person with disability.

"We want all citizens to be registered as voters and exercise their voting rights on polling day," he added.

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Translator: Nikolas Panama, Mecca Yumna
Editor: Suharto
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