Liberia’s visually-impaired set to vote for first time

Visually-impaired Liberians will for the first time get a chance to vote in the upcoming general election on Tuesday, but a lack of training on how to use special ballot devices may still leave many out.

Emmanuel Koyo, a 30-year-old visually-impaired man who survives by begging on Broad Street in capital Monrovia, told Anadolu Agency that he was looking forward to the opportunity to participate in the vote that will see the end of the two-term rule of Africa’s first female President, Ellen Johnson Sirelaf.

Koyo said he will go to vote with all his visually-impaired friends but voiced concern about whether he would be able to use the tactile ballot system.

The tactile voting device enables a visually impaired person to mark a ballot paper in secret without getting help from anyone.

“I only heard on radio that we will use tactile ballot guide to vote our candidates, but no one has come to teach us on its usage,” he said.

“We are many blind people here on the streets who want to vote independently.”

Out of a population of 4 million, Liberia has a little over 76,000 visually-impaired people of all genders, ages and sex, out of whom more than 3,000 have registered as voters in an election.

According to the National Elections Commission, tactile ballot system would enable the visually impaired community to vote on their own.

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Source: News Now /

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About Cholo Brooks 17512 Articles
Joel Cholo Brooks is a Liberian journalist who previously worked for several international news outlets including the BBC African Service. He is the CEO of the Global News Network which publishes two local weeklies, The Star and The GNN-Liberia Newspapers. He is a member of the Press Union Of Liberia (PUL) since 1986, and several other international organizations of journalists, and is currently contributing to the South Africa Broadcasting Corporation as Liberia Correspondent.