Boy Tonggor Siahaan has cast his vote in every election since he was in high school. The 46-year-old has not missed a single legislative, presidential or regional election. … Boy was born with deformities to both of his arms. “I was forced to use my feet. I punch a hole by holding the nail with my feet,” he said. Boy, however, considered himself lucky with his still-functioning arms. “What about those who don’t have limbs at all?” he said. Cases like Boy’s were documented in a study conducted by the General Election Network for Disability Access (AGENDA), a consortium of civil society organizations and disabled people’s organizations across Southeast Asia. The study was aimed at improving access for disabled people to meet their political rights.
The study found that in the July 9, 2014 presidential election, 84 percent of 470 polling stations monitored in five provinces were inaccessible for disabled voters.
The study found that only 16 percent of polling stations in Aceh, Jakarta, Central Java, South Kalimantan and South Sulawesi were accessible for people with disabilities.
A polling station is deemed to be accessible only if it meets seven criteria surrounding access pathways, location, entry and exit points from polling station, space to maneuver inside the polling station, voting booth pedestal, ballot box and braille template.