The General Election Commission (KPU) said on Monday it would guarantee that disabled people in Indonesia would be able to exercise their right to vote in the upcoming election. “This is not about increasing the participatory rate in the election — we are hoping there will be no discrimination against the disabled community,” KPU head Husni Kamil Manik said on Monday. Husni said the KPU was drafting a special regulation for disabled people to ensure the opportunity to use their voting rights and have convenient access to voting centers. The commission also signed a memorandum of understanding with several nongovernmental organizations focusing on increasing the participation of disabled people in Indonesian elections. “We must have an honest and fair election, accessible and nondiscriminatory. We hope this cooperation between the KPU and civil societies will pave a better way for Indonesian disabled to use their voting rights,” said Ariani Soekanwo, the chairwoman of the Center for Election Access for Citizens with Disabilities (PPUA Penca).
Ariani said Indonesia did not have statistics on the number of people living with disabilities in the country. She said in the 2009 election, it was estimated only half of disabled people in Indonesia voted.
She said the election organizers should have a better understanding on what the disabled community needed the most while casting their votes.
Back in the days of Suharto, Indonesia’s second and longest-ruling president, people with disabilities were barred from running for parliament by three seemingly innocuous articles in the election law.