In the weeks leading up to the October 10 parliamentary elections, Iraq’s Independent High Electoral Commission (IHEC) promised to take steps to ensure people with disabilities could vote.
But on election day, videos circulated suggested IHEC’s promises to make polling places accessible, with ballot boxes on the ground floor, went unfulfilled. A week later, we spoke to Haidar Jassim, 40, who has a physical disability. Here is what he said:
I was so optimistic when I heard IHEC would make polling places accessible to people with disabilities.
At 11:30 a.m. on election day, I went to the polling place in my Baghdad neighborhood, in my wheelchair, full of hope that I would be able to vote. I showed my voter ID to two IHEC staff. One looked at me and said, you have to make it to the second floor. I asked if I could vote without going to the second floor. The head of the polling place said they could not move the ballot boxes downstairs, but that I could come back later in the day and he would try to think of a solution. I told them about the IHEC announcement. He said he had no information about it.