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HOME  > Past issues  > 2021 November 17 - 23  > Improvement in Braille ballot is necessary for visually-challenged voters
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2021 November 17 - 23 TOP3 [SOCIAL ISSUES]

Improvement in Braille ballot is necessary for visually-challenged voters

November 18, 2021

Akahata 'current' column

A national review of Supreme Court justices took place along with the October 31 general election. Voters marked a ballot with an X in the square space above the name of justices whom they think should step down. On the other hand, visually-challenged voters had to write the name of all justices who they consider to be untrustworthy on a ballot in Braille.

According to the Tokyo Council of Japan for the Visually Impaired, some voters with visual impairment had no choice but to give up voting because the list of the names in Braille was not available at early-voting stations.

Kohinata Mitsuo, 69, who lives in Tokyo' s Koto Ward said he wrote in Braille the names of non-confidence justices as a polling station staff-member read aloud the names from behind. Kohinata complained that it was troublesome to type many letters with a portable Brailler equipped at the polling place.

In addition, Kohinata raised a question about ballot boxes without Braille. He said, "When several elections are held at the same time, I want to make sure of each ballot box." In fact, there have been cases in the past in which they dropped a ballot into the wrong box and their ballots became invalid.

Everyone has the right to choose representatives in elections to make a difference to politics and society. Living conditions of persons with disabilities are strongly influenced by politics: a community where they do not need to be very aware of their disability in life, or a community where they face difficulties due to their disability.

The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities requires all Parties to guarantee the disabled the right to vote. Japan should become a country which ensures opportunity for all people, irrespective of the severity of the disability, to vote in elections.

Past related article:
> Citizens discuss how to guarantee right to vote for people with disabilities [April 23, 2017]

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