FILE – Person’s hand reading braille language - Reuters
CAIRO - 20 April 2019: Egyptians blind will be able to cast their vote unassisted for the first time after ballot papers were printed using Braille method as the first day of the referendum on the constitutional amendments in Egypt kicks off Saturday.
Braille ballot allows blind people and those who have low vision to read documents through touching raised dots representing the letters of alphabet.
In December 2017, “Alashan Tbneeha” (To Build It), a former campaign that backed President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, issued forms in Braille giving blind citizens the chance to participate in demanding that Sisi runs for a second term as president of Egypt.
The first day of the referendum kicked off in Egypt, where polling stations across governorates have opened their doors at 9 a.m., and will close at 9 p.m. for three consecutive days.
Printing Braille ballot papers comes as part of the efforts exerted by the NEA to facilitate the voting process for people with disabilities. Sherif said that the NEA decided to enable the disabled citizens to vote in ground floors of polling stations that are close to their houses.
According to information announced by the NEA, the number of registered voters is 61,344,503; the number of male voters is slightly bigger that those of females. The voters can cast their votes in 13,919 polling subcommittees. Over 15,000 judges will supervise the voting process, according to information obtained by Egypt Today.
Head of the NEA Lasheen Ibrahim urged the citizens to accompany their children, enjoy their constitutional right, ignore the boycott calls, and cast their ballot in polling stations nationwide.
There will be a judge to supervise each of the ballot boxes, Ibrahim said, affirming that the NEA, the body charged with managing the electoral process, is keen to ensure the transparency of the voting process.
The approved amendments expand each of the two presidential terms allowed for any president to six years instead of four, while a separate transitional article gives an exceptional right to incumbent President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi, who was re-elected in 2018, to run for a third 6-year term after he finishes his second term in 2024 instead of 2022.
The amendments also give the president the right to choose heads of courts, judicial bodies, the Supreme Constitutional Court, and the Attorney General from some nominees. He would also appoint one third of the members of the Shura Council, which was revived, this time under the name "The Senate."