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Why IEBC Registers Voters in Open Places

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The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) has stated it is carrying out its registration drive in open places to allow participation for persons with disabilities (PWDs).

Speaking during a stakeholders’ forum with PWDs at the Kenya Institute of Curriculum Development, IEBC chairman, Wafula Chebukati, shared the commission was in the race to identify other challenges they may face and address them accordingly.

“IEBC has put in place measures to facilitate access to registration, voter information and polling by conducting voter registration in premises that can be easily accessed by PWDs e.g roadside, markets and other open public spaces,” stated Chebukati.

IEBC chair, Wafula Chebukati, giving the official announcement of the mass voter registration dates, on September 22, 2021.

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According to the chairman, the intention of convening the forum was to deliberate on ways of enhancing participation of the PWDs in the electoral process.

He recognized that PWDs form a significant portion of voters, who were at risk of being left out of the process due to their special voting needs.

“The Commission is cognizant of the numerical strength of Kenyans with disabilities, who still face challenges in accessing their rights to participate in political life on an equal basis with others.

“The World Health Organization states about 15 percent of the world’s population live with some form of disability. This demands that duty bearers intentionally put in place measures to ensure electoral access for PWDs is expanded to enable their participation in the elections,” he added.

The commission has delved into the issue to make it compliant with its 2019 Gender and Social Inclusion Policy (GSIP) to ensure the inclusion of special interest groups.

The electoral agency intends to collaborate with the PWDs groups and other relevant bodies to distribute communication materials about voting in braille for the visually impaired and sign language videos for the hearing impaired.

Other measures in the plan for IEBC include acquiring polling booths that address the interests of all disability groups as well as giving them priority during both registration and voting.

IEBC rolled out the mass voter registration drive on October 4, 2021, and now looks forward to reaching out to PWDs to help realize the registration target of more than six million new voters.

The commission had registered 491,968 new voters by October 17, out of a target of three million by that date.

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed, IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati and BBI Secretariat Co-Chair Dennis Waweru submit signatures at IEBC headquarters on December 10, 2020

Suna East MP Junet Mohamed (left), and BBI Secretariat Co-Chair Dennis Waweru (right) submit signatures to IEBC Chair Wafula Chebukati (centre) at IEBC headquarters in Nairobi on December 10, 2020

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