Accessible Elections

Updated: October 2023

This video was developed in 2017 by the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), in cooperation with the Central Election Commission of Ukraine and with the support of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), Global Affairs Canada and the British Embassy in Kyiv. The  video raises awareness of the barriers faced by people with disabilities during the election process and how election commissioners can make the electoral process more accessible to and inclusive of people with disabilities. An English transcript of the video is available below.


(Transcript begins)


Election commissioner: At every election, the future of Ukraine is decided by different people - students, entrepreneurs, pensioners, young parents, residents of cities, town,s and villages throughout the territory of our state. And every voice is equally important and has the same value in a democratic society. Having the opportunity to elect freely is the right guaranteed to everyone, including 2.5 million people with disabilities whose votes at the elections should be heard and taken into account on the equal basis with all other citizens. The Central Election Commission consistently ensures the implementation and protection of electoral rights of people with disabilities. Obviously, in order to ensure inclusiveness it is necessary to work at least in two directions. First of all, every polling station should be made accessible for voters with disabilities. Secondly the members of precinct election commissions should know and understand the needs of such people and should be always ready to assist them in voting. Relevant questions are already included in the training programs for members of precinct election commissions.


Yulia Resenchuk: My name is Yulia Resenchuk. I am a civic activist. Just like all other people, I want to participate in teh elections, and to do so at the polling stations. I would like our polling stations to be comfortbale and accessible for everyone: both design- and mentally-wise. For me, as a person using a wheelchair, it is very important to be able to get to the polling station on my own. it is important or me to be met by a person who could help me, in case I need any help. 


Anatoliy Kuralov: My name is Anatoliy Kuralov. I am a web designer and a website developer. It is very improtant for people with disabilities to participate in elections in order for the state to hear us and see that we exist. Sign Language. Would be great if people working at the polling stations knew sign language at least on the basic level for making communication easier; at least a little bit - I do not ask them to know it fluently. it would be pleasant for me, just like for anyone else. The more video-information related to elections is in sign language, not in written form, the mroe interest it will arouse among people with hearing disabilities, and will stimulate their participation in election process.


Oleksiy Nakalyuzhny: My name is Oleskiy Nakalyuzhny. I am a member of a territorial election commission. I repeatedly helped people with disabilities at polling stations. One should be friendly and emotionally positive towards such people. I want to emphasize that an election commission member should not create any barriers in his/her communication, attitude or behavior towards a regular voter and towards a voter with disability. In any case, you need to be creative because there is no clear model to be followed. 


Maryna Starusyovva: I am Maryna Starusyova. I live in Kharkiv region. I do bunching. If I could vote in elections, and this process would be accessible and calm, I would be pleased with myself. I want to be treated as a regular person. I would like elections to be accessible, so that the members of the precinct election commission would accompany you to the voting booth, would tell you to cast your ballot. Not just say: "Put your signature here" but to point at it with a finger or guide with a pen, if necessary. When you ask for and feel some support, when people are ready to help you - then you are just flying. 


(Transcript ends)