The Bill of Electoral Rights for Citizens with Disabilities

The "Bill of Electoral Rights for Citizens with Disabilities" calls on states to meet their obligation to take effective measures to ensure that all citizens with disabilities are able to exercise their universal right to participate fully and on equal terms in electoral processes.

The "Bill of Electoral Rights for Citizens with Disabilities" was drafted and endorsed by participants attending a four-day workshop held from 14-17 September, 2002, in Sigtuna, Sweden. Participants from twenty-four nations included disability rights experts and activists, senior election administration officials, and representatives of the Inter Parliamentary Union, the Council of Europe, and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). The Workshop was jointly convened by the International Foundation for Election Systems (IFES) and the International Institute on Democracy and Electoral Assistance (IDEA), with funding from the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency (Sida).

In addition to endorsing the "Bill of Electoral Rights," the workshop participants discussed and drafted a set of "Standards of Electoral Access for Citizens with Disabilities." These Standards are integral to and explanatory of the "Bill of Electoral Rights for Citizens with Disabilities."

The Bill of Electoral Rights for Citizens with Disabilities

Every citizen shall have the right and opportunity, without distinction on the basis of intellectual, physical, psychiatric, sensory or other disability:

• To have access on general terms of equality to the conduct of public affairs directly or indirectly through freely chosen representatives;

• To participate on general terms of equality in the conduct of elections;

• To register for, and to vote in genuine and periodic elections, referenda and plebiscites which shall be by universal and equal suffrage;

• To vote by secret ballot;

• To stand for election, to be elected, and to exercise a mandate once elected.

These rights shall be guaranteed without discrimination on any grounds, including disability, and without restrictions other than those justified in a free and democratic society.

States have the obligation to take affirmative and effective measures to ensure that citizens with disabilities enjoy these rights and have the opportunity to exercise their political and electoral rights on the basis of equality.

All these rights are guaranteed by the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.


Sigtuna, Sweden
September 16, 2002

The Bill of Electoral Rights for Citizens with Disabilities

By drafting and signing this Bill of electoral rights for citizens with disabilites, we the undersigned pledge to advance and disseminate the spirit and intent of this Bill within our organizations and networks.

Signed in Sigtuna, on September 17, 2002, by the following:

Richard Soudriette
President, IFES

Bengt Lindqvist
UN Special Rapporteur on Disability
Karen Fogg
Secretary General, IDEA

Oziel Molahloa Kalawe
Lesotho Independent Election Commission
Sophie Beaumont
European Disability Forum

Eva Falkenberg
Sida
Tomas Lagerwall
Rehabilitation International

Anna Birte Pade
Danish Ministry of the Interior and Health
Mary O'Hagan
World Network of Users and Survivors
Of Psychiatry

Diane Davidson
Elections Canada

Roberto Madriz
Inclusion InterAmericana

Maria Magdelena Mungunda
Namibian National Assembly
Anura Priyadharshana Yapa
Member of Parliament, Sri Lanka

Jean Pierre Kingsley
Chief Electoral Officer of Canada
Gaël Martin-Micallef
Council of Europe, Venice Commission

Monica Bartley
Combined Disabilities Association, Jamaica
Dan Kalale
Electoral Commission of Zambia

Felix Simulunga
Zambia Federation of the Disabled
Rusadi Kantaproawira
Electoral Commission of Indonesia

Wilma Newhoudt-Druchen
Member of Parliament, South Africa
Leif Jeppsson
World Blind Union

Pauline Welsh
Electoral Office of Jamaica
Pedro Chavez
Aproddis

Luc Dumont
Elections Canada
Halit Ferizi
Handikos

Christina Fleetwood
Swedish Disability Federation
K. Sarfo-Kantanka
Electoral Commission, Ghana

Maria Lourdes Gonzales
CAPEL
Kate Sullivan
International IDEA

Afredita Berisha
Handikos
Nicholas Halm
Ghana Federation of the Disabled

Pàl Gadò
ACEEEO/MEOSz, Hungary
Ariana Abdul Mun'im
Electoral Access Committee 2004 for
People with Disabilities, Indonesia

Andre van Deventer
World Federation of the Deafblind

Heppy Sebayang
Electoral Access Committee 2004 for
People with Disabilities, Indonesia

Sarah Gull
Electoral Commission of the United Kingdom

Martin Long
Action on Disability and Development

Michael Cooke
Australia Electoral Commission
Jerome Mindes
IFES

Mafole Sematlane
Lesotho IEC/SADC ECF
Jeff Fischer
IFES