45 visually impaired voters vote unassisted with new template

Blind and Visually Impaired Society of Maldives (BVISM) holds press conference at the People's Majlis. (Sun Photo/Ibrahim Shamweel)

The Election Commission (EC) said that 45 people voted in the first round of the last presidential election using the template introduced to enable the blind and visually impared to vote unassisted.

People voted in ADh., HDh., Gdh and Male’ atoll using this template. Vice Chairman of EC, Ismail Habeeb has previously stated that those are the areas with the highest population of blind and visually impaired people.

The plastic template used by the blind to vote for themselves was made of a hard material similar to the ballot paper. The template has a positive mark next to each candidate's name and includes the candidate number which can be felt by touching.

It is a template designed to allow the ballot paper to be inserted into it or the ballot paper for it to be placed on top of.

The proposed amendment to the Electoral Act to enable the blind to vote for themselves was based on the recommendation made by the Blind and Visually Impaired Society of Maldives.

Some members of the Blind Association of Maldives have already met the Human Rights Committee and the Independent Institutions Committee of the Parliament with a simple solution to the issue of secrecy of votes cast by the blind in elections.

While the blind have just voted freely in Maldives, the use of a template for blind voting is also used in foreign countries.

The lack of confidentiality of voting by blind people has been widely discussed in the past.