In 2015, Fundaciόn Saraki, an organization in Paraguay that promotes the right of persons wtih disabilities to participate in elections, produced a series of videos with funding from the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). This video explains how to assist voters with different types of disabilities through the voting process. A transcript is available below.
Benitez: My name is Sergio Benitez. I am a person with a visual disability.
Marecos: I am Mario Ruben Marecos, social activist. I am not worth less; I am not sick; I am not incapacitated. I am a person with a disability.
Ever: I am, too, but I would like it better if you called me Ever.
Dario: I am Dario. You should know that there exist five types of disabilities. I have a psychosocial disability.
Maria Cristina: Hi, my name is Maria Cristina. I am a person with a hearing disability. I am not mute. I use sign language to communicate with my hands.
Regina: I am Regina. In these elections, I want to vote.
Marecos: With this material, we want to give you some advice so you can understand my right to vote.
Voiceover: Persons with visual disabilities are persons who are blind or have low vision. They can be identified by a white cane or because they are at the side of another person who guides them. If you see a blind person arrive, go near to them without touching, present yourself and offer your help. If they know how to read braille, indicate that it available to help them. If they don’t read braille and are with a family member or person they trust, explain that the person can accompany them to help them vote.
Benitez: In the private corner you will tell me from right to left the party list and the candidate. After that, you give me the pen and help move my hand to the place where I have to mark the candidate for whom I choose to vote.
Voiceover: Accompany them to the deposit and guide them with your hands. Indicate to them how to fold the ballot and where to cast the vote. Don’t forget to explain the process and guide their hand so that they can place indelible ink on the index finger. Finally, accompany them to the exit. With these steps, you will have a great experience in the polling station.
Man who is blind: We, the majority of adults with disabilities, need accommodations. If it is possible, we sit to sit and wait to vote.
Benitez: The way to help a person with visual disabilities is to remain close to the person with visual disabilities and offer them your shoulder. Then, the person with visual disabilities can stand one step behind and orient themselves with the movement of the shoulder. The other way to guide a person with visual disabilities is to give them your arm. Turn the arm to the left so they understand that they should turn to the left. Turn the arm to the right so they understand that they should turn to the right. Lower the arm so they understand that they should go down a step. To lift the arm is to go up a step. Send the arm behind to go backwards. That is the way to help a person with visual disabilities, giving your arm.
Voiceover: Deaf people are those who cannot hear or who can hear little. It is not always easy to identify them. You will notice if they are speaking in sign language or if they have a hearing aid. If a Deaf person is alone, go to them and take their shoulder to get their attention and offer your help. Speak face to face, slowly, so that they can read your lips. Do not try to speak and do something else at the same time. To explain the voting process, point to posters or writing that is clear and concise. If they don’t understand, explain again using images. The TSJE has a step-by-step video explanation in sign language available in the help desk.
Sign language translation: I don’t shout; I am Deaf.
Voiceover: Your attitude will make the elections a positive experience for persons with hearing disabilities.
Llano: We are working again with Voto Accessible. We started at the end of 2012. Resolution 270/2014 governs the Tribunal Superior and establishes that there be an Accessible Table in the polling place with how to do the voting process. That resolution prepares us to be able to work with all kinds of voters. We then go through the materials that help each group of persons with disabilities that arrives and how to work with them.
Voiceover: Persons with intellectual disabilities have difficulty learning, understanding, and communicating more than others. Sometimes, it is not easy to identify them, but it can be shown when speaking because it is more difficult for them or it takes them more time to understand or maintain a thread of conversation. It is also possible to recognize them by some physical characteristics, like persons with Down Syndrome. Be patient; your help is very important.
Ever: I need you to tell me step by step how to vote. Listen if you don’t understand and answer in the simplest way without using complicated words, nor giving more than one instruction at a time. Wait in case I have a question. Can you explain again, please?
Voiceover: Persons with physical disabilities are persons who do not have mobility or who have reduced mobility in their limbs or smaller appendages. They can be identified if they use a wheelchair or orthopedic apparatus, prosthesis, cane, crutches, if they have difficulty walking or moving their arms, or if they do not have some body part. Introduce yourself and ask them if they need help moving and if it is written for them to use the Accessible Table. If they tell you yes, accompany them to table number one. Ensure that the voting process will be as independent as possible. If the person has difficulty using larger body parts, and asks for help, only then can you facilitate the “Assisted Voting” selection.
Marecos: I ask you, please, do not help with my wheelchair because it is my personal space.
Marecos: When you see a person with a crutch or cane, do not take from him this device because it is part of their body.
Voiceover: A person with a psychosocial disability has difficulty relating to others. Some forms of psychosocial disability are autism, bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, among others. Many times they are not recognized with a simple look. They may speak to themselves, be extremely insecure, timid, or extroverted. They can evade looking, get angry, or be frustrated easily.
Dario: Be patient because you can ask me the same thing a few times.
Voiceover: Explain the voting process to them in a clear and concrete manner. Do not judge the person for a distracted attitude. They could be experiencing side effects from a sedative or medication.
Dario: A disability does not take away your right to vote.
Voiceover: This is a message from the Saraki Foundation with the help of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Tribunal Superior de Justicia Electoral.