The accessibility of all polling stations from Moldova will be assessed during January-March 2022

Posted February 2, 2022

Barrier-free access to public institutions is not a favour, but a requirement to safeguard and fulfil social and political rights. The campaign "Equal access for all to polling stations", launched on 2 February 2022 in Chisinau by the Central Electoral Commission and UNDP Moldova, aims to inform the population, especially voters, local public authorities, and people with disabilities about the necessity to ensure equal access to public buildings (schools, hospitals, municipalities etc.).

The launching of the campaign took place in the week during which the Global Elections Day is marked. The fulfillment of the right to vote also depends on the accessibility of the polling station. Thus, during January-March 2022, the INFONET Alliance will evaluate 1206 public institutions and their premises in which the polling stations are usually organized. The audit is mostly performed by people with various disabilities, who will to test the itinerary to the polling stations, the existing access ramps, the width of the doors, corridors, the polling places, but also the adaptation of the toilets within the premises.

"Accessibility should not be approached only from a technical perspective. This is not just a right, it is, first and foremost, an attitude towards people. In the context of electoral process, accessibility means creating proper conditions for inclusive elections. That is why the electoral authority is concerned with the improvement and modernization of the electoral process at all its stages," noted Angela Caraman, Chairperson of the Central Electoral Commission.

Vasile Savca, a wheelchair user and accessibility evaluator for Causeni and Stefan-Voda districts, mentioned: "I walked so many kilometres in the wheelchair to the polling stations in the localities of Ștefan-Voda in January, that I think I would break a record. And I noticed that there are a lot of accessibility issues not only related to the polling stations, but also to public roads. That is why, even outside the electoral periods, I insist to discuss the issue of accessibility with LPAs, at least in Causeni district.”

Following the finalization of the audit of the 1206 public institutions, a study will be developed, which will include information on the accessibility of all polling stations from Moldova.

At the same time, the “MOTIVATION” Association will conduct field visits in at least 10 districts, to inform the local public administration about the accessibility criteria, the national legislation, as well as the estimated costs for accessibility works.

In 2019, a similar assessment covered 612 polling stations from Chisinau, Balti, Hincesti, Causeni, Edinet and Gagauzia region, which represent 30% of the total number of polling stations.

The campaign "Equal access for all to polling stations" is initiated by the Central Electoral Commission and UNDP Moldova, in partnership with the INFONET Alliance and the "MOTIVATION" Association, in the framework of the UNDP project "Enhancing democracy in Moldova through inclusive and transparent elections", implemented with the financial support of the American people provided through the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and of the British Embassy in Chisinau provided through the Good Governance Fund.

Contact for mass-media: tel. 069741805, Olga Crivoliubic, UNDP Project Manager