Rights groups lament lack of assistance for disabled voters

Disabled citizens faced difficulties while voting in this week's round of parliamentary elections, a number of rights groups have said.

There were no sign language interpreters to help the deaf and the majority of polling stations were located on upper floors, making it difficult for voters in wheelchairs, the Egyptian Coalition for the Disabled in Alexandria said.

The High Elections Commission provided no facilities for the disabled, according to a report by Hoqooki, an association for the rights of the disabled, assessed the suitability of voting stations in Cairo, Alexandria and Fayoum.

Heba Hagras, an Egyptian Bloc candidate who has a disability, also said no facilities were available for those with special needs. Hagras said she found it difficult to go up to the polling stations in her wheelchair. She said one supervising judge refused to leave the voting station to help her.

Mohamed Mokhtar, who also uses a wheelchair, said his polling station was on the third floor and the scrambling of voters made it even more difficult to reach the ballot box.

The Adl Party had provided sign language interpreters at 12 polls in east Cairo. Interpreter Nadia al-Sherbiny said deaf voters tend to be unaware of the significance of their vote and lack information about the process, which, she said, lowered their participation rate.

Translated from the Arabic Edition

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