NAPD and IFES Present Findings of Polling Station Accessibility Audit Results in Poltava, Ukraine
From January to March 2016, the National Assembly for Persons with Disabilities (NAPD) with support from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), carried out an audit of all polling stations in the Poltava oblast. Expert audit teams examined 1,269 polling sites in cooperation with regional and local officials, and representatives of disabled persons organizations (DPOs). The audit framework they used incorporated a questionnaire designed for comparing reality against the legislative requirements of Ukrainian legislation regarding the accessibility of buildings and premises. The audit concluded that currently only three polling stations in the region (less than 1%) are fully accessible and 41.6 percent are partially accessible for persons with disabilities.
On October 25, 2016, IFES in partnership with the NAPD visited the city of Poltava to present findings from the NAPD’s “Report on Polling Station Accessibility Audit in the Poltava Region,” conducted earlier this year. Representatives of the Poltava Regional State Administration, Poltava Regional Council, and the Poltava region district administrations were joined by officials from the Office of Ukraine’s Presidential Commissioner for the Rights of People with Disabilities, the NAPD, as well as local DPOs, and disability rights experts.
IFES Ukraine Acting Project Manager Yuliya Shypilova provided an overview of international standards and good practice with regard to accessibility and inclusion throughout the electoral processes, and IFES’ ongoing projects addressing the electoral and political rights of persons with disabilities in Ukraine. NAPD representatives Volodymyr Hrybalskyi and Iryna Tverdokhlib provided a detailed summary of their organization’s polling station audit and outlined key areas of focus for improving the accessibility of polling stations in Poltava region.
As suggested by the findings and recommendations by the project`s experts and monitoring teams, the Poltava authorities composed a list of problematic premises and a work plan for making them accessible for people with disabilities. Currently, around 30 premises are being adapted by and for people with disabilities and several representatives of local authorities took the initiative to support the adaptation of additional select polling sites following the presentation. IFES, through continued support from the United States Agency for International Development, Global Affairs Canada, and the United Kingdom government, together with its partners in civil society and government, will continue to monitor and support progress in the coming years.