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Enable votes in Braille, appeals visually impaired voter 11.8.2022

A visually impaired voter, Shankar Khautankar on Wednesday requested elections authorities and the State government to provide voting in Braille to help several blind people to exercise their fundamental rights without the help of a companion.

Khauntankar, who is a voter of Ward 5 in Chicalim panchayat, expressed concern after he was informed that Braille cannot be made available under the provisions of the Panchayat Raj Act.

“I am a totally blind voter and when I reached the polling station, I requested for Braille to cast my vote and they could not make it available. The officers told me that the Panchayat Raj Act has no provision for providing votes Braille for visually impaired voters,” said Khautankar.

“Today, there was a lot of time wasted for formalities and finally, I had to take the support of a companion who cast my vote on behalf of me. We could cast our votes independently for the assembly elections and we will have the Lok Sabha election soon.”

I urge authorities to amend the Panchayat Raj Act and make a provision for Braille system across the State and country for the benefit of many people who may be visually impaired but want to cast their votes, which is their fundamental right.”

“I also appeal to the election commissioner to immediately intervene and try and resolve this issue for the sake of visually impaired voters like me,” said Khautankar.