By: Dipo Siahaan, IFES

Fifty volunteers will be deployed in five of the capitol’s districts to monitor the accessibility of the Jakarta gubernatorial election. Four days leading to the election, the volunteers underwent a two-day workshop held at Park Hotel, Cawang, Jakarta, from 7 to 8 July, 2012.

At the workshop the volunteers were introduced to the checklist they will be using in the monitoring. The list consists of questions on issues that the volunteers have to examine on election day. The monitored items range from the description of the polling station where the volunteer is assigned to, to the treatment received by voters with disabilities when they vote. In addition, volunters are also required to do a post-election survey by interviewing persons with disabilities who have cast their ballots. The purpose of the interview is to gauge the perception of persons with disabilities on the ease of access, needs accomodation, and so on.

Organizers also ran a simulation to give the volunteers some ideas of what to expect on the election day. The volunteers were asked to fill out their checklist during the simulation. They were asked to identify possible problems, barriers and challenges that they may encounter during the monitoring. This is important because some of them are not experienced in election monitoring. The monitoring may prove to be challenging for some of the volunteers with certain types of disabilities. For example, some volunteers with hearing impairment were hesitant at first when they found out that they would have to interview people. However, the workshop facilitators put their minds at ease by explaining that the interview does not necessarily have to be a verbal one and may be performed in writing.

The workshop also identified the polling stations where the volunteers will be assigned, specifically those where persons with disabilities will come to cast their votes.

Out of the 50 volunteers to be deployed, 25 are persons with disability.