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Election authorities and election officials in the EU Member States are responsible for the organisation and administration of elections, including elections to the European Parliament. It is therefore important that they are aware of issues related to non-discrimination on the grounds of disability, accessibility and reasonable accommodation.
One way to raise awareness is through training. Article 4 (1) (i) of the CPRD sets a duty on state parties to “promote the training of professionals and staff working with persons with disabilities in the rights recognized in [the CRPD] so as to better provide the assistance and services guaranteed by those rights.”
Is training for election authorities and officials on non-discrimination on the grounds of disability, accessibility and accommodation required by law in EU Member States?
Source: FRA, 2014
FRA research shows that training of election authorities and election officials on non-discrimination on the grounds of disability, accessibility and reasonable accommodation is mandatory in only one EU Member State, Croatia. Croatian election law mandates the National Election Committee (NEC) to conduct training for election officials, although it does not require election officials to undergo the training. During its training the NEC gives instructions on how election officials should assist voters with disabilities. The NEC also publishes and distributes to election committees specific information on voting procedures for persons with disabilities.
In all other Member States training for election authorities and officials on these issues is not required by law. However, in 15 EU Member States – Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, the Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Finland, France, Ireland, Italy, Lithuania, Poland, Slovenia, Spain and the United Kingdom – FRA research indicated that training material or specific instructions on how to ensure non-discrimination on the ground of disability and accessibility in voting procedures is provided. In Finland, the Ministry of Justice issues instructions to all election committees that include information on accessibility, while in Lithuania and Slovenia the central election authority provides training during election campaigns, where election rights, accessibility and necessary accommodations to exercise the right to vote for all, including persons with disabilities, are covered.