Election Observations 24 February 2010

Election Observation for Persons with Disabilities 2010

Election Observation for Persons with Disabilities 2010

In 2010, the Special Talent Exchange Program (STEP), in collaboration with the Election Commission of Pakistan and the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), observed the Bye-Election in Islamabad. The primary objective was to evaluate the accessibility and challenges faced by persons with disabilities at various polling stations.

Observation Overview

During the Bye-Election, the STEP team visited multiple polling stations across Islamabad. Their goal was to identify and assess the barriers that persons with disabilities encounter when casting their votes. This initiative was part of STEP’s ongoing efforts to promote inclusive electoral processes and ensure that all citizens can participate in the democratic process.

Key Objectives

  • Evaluate Accessibility: Assess the accessibility of polling stations for persons with disabilities.
  • Identify Barriers: Identify specific challenges and barriers that hinder the voting process for persons with disabilities.
  • Recommend Improvements: Develop recommendations for improving electoral accessibility.
  • Promote Inclusion: Advocate for the rights of persons with disabilities in the electoral process.

Key Findings

  • Physical Barriers: Many polling stations lacked ramps or elevators, making it difficult for individuals with mobility impairments to access voting areas.
  • Inadequate Signage: A lack of clear and accessible signage made navigation challenging for persons with visual impairments.
  • Insufficient Training: Polling staff often lacked training on how to assist voters with disabilities, leading to confusion and delays.
  • Privacy Concerns: Some polling stations did not provide adequate privacy for persons with disabilities when casting their votes.


Based on the observations, STEP proposes several recommendations to enhance electoral accessibility:

  • Infrastructure Improvements: Ensure all polling stations are equipped with ramps, elevators, and other necessary infrastructure to accommodate persons with disabilities.
  • Accessible Signage: Implemen clear, accessible signage at all polling stations to assist voters with visual impairments.
  • Staff Training: Provide comprehensive training for polling staff on how to assist voters with disabilities effectively.
  • Enhanced Privacy: Design polling stations to ensure that all voters, including those with disabilities, can cast their votes privately and independently.


The observation of the Bye-Election 2010 by STEP highlighted significant accessibility challenges faced by persons with disabilities at polling stations in Islamabad. By collaborating with the Election Commission of Pakistan and IFES, STEP aims to advocate for necessary changes to ensure that all citizens, regardless of their abilities, can exercise their right to vote in an inclusive and accessible environment.

Election Observations 2010