Secret ballot: Blind people to also vote this way

19Apr 2019
Polycarp Machira
DODOMA
The Guardian
Secret ballot: Blind people to also vote this way

VISUALLY impaired Tanzanians will be able to enjoy the right to secret ballot   in this year’s civic polls and next year’s general elections following the procurement of equipment that enables them to vote in private.

The Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment and Disabled), Anthony Mavunde.

With the use of tactile ballot papers for elections at all levels, people with disabilities will now vote at all levels, while earlier such materials were only available for presidential elections as in the 2015 polls.

The Deputy Minister of State in the Prime Minister's Office (Parliamentary Affairs, Labour, Employment and Disabled), Anthony Mavunde issued this information to the legislature here yesterday.

He issued that statement in response to Special Seats MP, Susan Mgonukulima (Chadema) who had argued that blind people are incapable of exercising the right to vote the leaders they want, due to their being helped by other people to vote.

She asserted that some of those entrusted to assist them in some cases are not honest and can pick names not of the choice of the blind voter.

Mgonukulima asked whether the government was ready to produce tactile ballot papers for such voters. "Is the government ready to ensure the special papers are there ahead of the coming civic elections?" she asked.

The deputy minister clarified that the Elections Act stipulates that if a voter has disability or cannot read and write should be assisted to vote by people whom he or she trusts, and that helper should not be an election supervisor or agent of a political party.

"An election supervisor has to give a tactile ballot paper to the blind person when asked for it," he said.

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