On Election Day, improved accessibility at polling stations

According to Central Election Committee, some 2,500 polling stations will have access for the physically handicapped.

March 16, 2015 16:00
1 minute read.
A DOCTOR and a professor of rehabilitation help a man at a school of medicine

A DOCTOR and a professor of rehabilitation help a man at a school of medicine. (photo credit: REUTERS)

On Election Day, some one million people with disabilities will be able to vote at accessible polling stations throughout the country, according to the Central Elections Committee.

The Knesset Elections Law requires that in each local district there be at least one polling station that has been designed for accessibility. In cities and larger districts, the law requires at least one accessible polling station for every 10,000 citizens.

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According to figures released by the Committee, this year some 2,500 polling stations will have access for the physically handicapped population – an increase of 60 percent since the last election.

“During the years between elections, the Central Elections Committee makes a special effort to locate buildings that stand up to the accessibility standards in order to use them for polling stations,” the Committee website stated.

In addition, voters whose registered polling station are not considered accessible are eligible to vote at any one of some 1,500 polling stations around the country labeled by the Committee as a “special accessible polling station” – an increase from some 900 special stations since the last election.

However, for people without a visible disability, the Committee requires that voters provide written proof of a mobility disability, and sign a declaration under the supervision of the Committee Secretary, stating the nature of the disability.

“Although improvements have been made, we are still lagging behind where Israeli society needs to be,” said Shira Ruderman, Israel director of the Ruderman Family Foundation.

“Accessible polling stations cannot only be measured by having a ramp for people with wheelchairs. Accessibility needs to be for all types of disabilities,” she said.

For example, Ruderman noted that the cards used at the polling stations do not have Braille, which means people who are visually impaired have to rely on someone else to help them vote.

“It is 2015 and we have yet to implement fully accessible polling stations. Hopefully by the next elections the situation will have drastically improved,” she said.

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