Accessible voting project for people with disabilities in Portugal awarded by the UN

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The “Accessible Vote” project, from the Federation of Portuguese Cerebral Palsy Associations (FAPPC), received today one of The Zero Project awards, from the United Nations, and whose delivery took place in Vienna, Austria.

The software created for the “Accessible Vote” – easy to replicate and always used offline, not using the Internet – allows voting in person in a completely autonomous and secret way for any person, regardless of disability or limitation (visual, hearing and/or physical), describes the FAPPC statement sent to Lusa.

Defended for several years by FAPPC as an alternative option and more complete and comprehensive than the simple electronic vote, is, according to the president of the federation, “an alternative that Portugal should assume, especially since, in terms of operationalization and costs, this innovative technological solution translates into an important investment and savings in terms of public money.

In this context, Rui Coimbras classifies the award as “a victory of the fight for democracy, citizenship and self-representation of people with disabilities”, adding that the federation “has always defended – and will continue to defend – the principle underlying this distinction, i.e. the right to exercise citizenship through the truly secret vote”.

Recalls the organization that this tool “has been formally tested several times in Portugal, particularly in participatory budget voting and in electoral acts of FAPPC members, and from such acts were presented evidence and evaluation of the use of this solution,” emphasizes the statement.

The “Accessible Voting” project aims to respond to paragraph 2 of point 1 of Article 29 of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, which Portugal ratified in 2009. Despite this ratification, and despite the fact that this is expressed in Article 10 of the Constitution, in Portugal the secret ballot is still not implemented for some people with disabilities (or any other type of limitation, namely physical), points out the press release.

It should be noted that the existing legislation provides for “accompanied voting, but as FAPPC has always argued, this option restricts and limits the rights of some citizens,” the document continues.

The Zero Project is a United Nations initiative that aims to reward inclusive and innovative solutions, especially aimed at vulnerable or disadvantaged groups. This year’s theme was “Independent Living, Political Participation, and Information and Communication Technologies”, and 319 projects from 78 countries competed, explains FAPPC.

The selection process, developed in stages, relied on an international panel of analysts, in peer review, appearing in the final list of 74 projects awarded. Portugal is one of the distinguished countries with FAPPC’s Accessible Voting project, developed in partnership with IBM/Softinsa, the publication adds.

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