Chennai: Fed up with empty promises of barrier free access by the State Election Commission, differently-abled activists will be launching an app that will help volunteers audit accessibility parameters in polling booths across Tamil Nadu.
The audit, say representatives of Disability Rights Alliance, will be the first of its kind in the country done across more than 65,000 polling booths in Tamil Nadu.
The yet-to-be-launched Android app named Election Audit, will be hosted by the Election Commission’s server with the data generated during the audit intended to help officials right the wrongs.
Expected to launch in a week’s time, the app has been developed by Ardhika Software Technologies Private Limited and coordinated by Sathya Madurantakam, who is associated with Vidyasagar, the NGO working for welfare of differently-abled.
“It will be a free app. Right now, we are working on preparing the data regarding assembly constituencies. Users will have to register before being given access to the app because we cannot allow frivolous audits as this is something that government officials will take action on,” said Sathya.
The app will lead the user into forms with several objective type questions that try to assess the accessibility of the particular booth. Users can also attach photographs as proof of their audit report.
Explaining how the procedure will take shape, Sathya added that they will form groups of volunteers across the state with one person given the administrator status. “Volunteers will be assigned poll stations. Where there is no smartphone access, we can have field workers gather data using traditional method and then have the district administrator to key the data directly into the server,” he said.
Chief Electoral Officer Rajesh Lakhoni told DC that his office has been working with the Disability Rights Alliance since October 2015 to ensure maximum participation of differently-abled in the 2016 elections. “We are also taking initiatives to make the Election Commission’s website accessible. Ours will be the only website which is compliant,” he said....