Electoral officials in Tsirang are trying to make EVM voting possible for the differently-abled voters.

There are at least 240 differently-abled eligible voters in the dzongkhag.

The voter education session for the differently-abled people was conducted through ‘reaching the unreached’ initiative before the primary round.

Dzongkhag electoral officer, Kibu Zangpo, said that of 240, 84 differently-abled voters turned up to cast their votes on September 15. “Most of them were first time voters,” he said.

Among the 84 voters who turned up for the primary election, two were aged between 18 and 24; 31 were aged between 25 and 45, 24 were between the ages of 46 and 60, and 27 were 61 and above.

Kibu Zangpo said that the relatives of the differently-abled voters who could not come to vote in the primary round were being contacted. “We’re telling them to find means to bring the voter to the polling stations,” he said.

He added that most of them had shown willingness to vote. “We’re just helping them get to the reach to polling station, not forcing them,” he said.

Semjong gewog has the highest number of people living with disability (42), followed by Gosarling (36), Sergithang (28), Barshong (27), and Patshaling (18). Rangthaling gewog has 16 people living with disability and Tsholingkhar has 14. Kilkhorthang and Mendrelgang have 10 each. Doonglagang and Tsirangtoed have eight and nine respectively.

Making it possible for people living with disability to vote, Kibu Zangpo said, was included in the election commission strategy.

Election officials hope that the experience would help ECB find ways to make casting ballots easier for differently-abled people across the country.

Nirmala Pokhrel |Tsirang