Sensitivity training for poll workers

Updated: January 2016

The Commission on Elections (COMELEC) from the Philippines generated a video for its poll workers that provides an overview of the rights of citizens with disabilities. The video also describes the different procedures for providing assistance to persons with various types of disabilities, and ends by encouraging poll workers to support the right of citizens with disabilities to vote.




(Participants are speaking in Tagalog)

Board of Election Inspector (BEI): Let the PWD cut through the queue and come to the table.

Narrator: On election day, more than 52 million people will vote and among this number are persons with disabilities or PWDs. Persons with disabilities are those who have long-term physical, mental, intellectual or sensory impairments which in interaction with various barriers may hinder their full and effective participation in society on equal basis with others.

To allow PWDs to vote with ease, election officers have been tasked to designate precincts with PWDs to ground level voting centers. There are also express lanes for PWDs, Senior Citizens, heavily pregnant women and escorted detainee voters.

PWDs or illiterates who cannot by themselves accomplish ballots can be assisted by any of the following: 1) relative by 4th degree of consanguinity or affinity; 2) trusted member of the household; 3) member of the Board of Election Inspectors

The fact of a person’s being a PWD or illiterate (thereby needing an assistor) has to appear on the Election Day Computerized Voters list.

To familiarize BEIs on how to assist PWDs, here are some practical guidelines.

Physical Disability

In preparing the polling place, ensure mobility by removing any physical barriers. Don’t just push wheelchair users. Ask if they need assistance. The 3rd member of the BEI or support staff may assist PWDs who are unable to feed the ballots into the scanners provided secrecy is ensured at all times.

Hearing Disability

In communicating with persons who are deaf or are hearing impaired, face the person directly, do not shout and don’t start communicating until the person is ready. To get attention, tap the person lightly.

Speech Disability

Don’t pretend you understand a person’s speech. Ask the person to repeat him or herself or ask them to write what they want to say or use gestures.

Visual Disability

For persons who are blind or visually-impaired, you will need to explain the whole process to them and their assistors. Don’t just turn your back or move away from a blind person. Tell them you are doing so.

Assisting blind persons to their seats involve drawing their hand to the back of the chair.

On election day, let us help PWDs to vote! Thank you!


-- End of transcript --