ECHR to rule on disability discrimination in elections

Ramil Gachay's picture

On Tuesday, 26 October, at 10:00 Strasbourg time, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) will issue an important judgment concerning the accessibility of polling stations to persons with disabilities. This will be the first time that the Court will rule on the accessibility and rights of disabled persons in elections. The case was initiated by Franc Toplak and Iztok Mrak from Slovenia, who both had muscular dystrophy, and claimed that polling places were inaccessible in the 2015 gay marriage referendum and the 2019 European Parliament elections. 

Toplak and Mrak argued that authorities should provide for the disabled what they provide for others, including accessible entrances and a voting booth and ballot they can use independently and without revealing their choice to anyone. 

"The Strasbourg court sets standards for 47 European countries members of the Council of Europe, and this judgment will inevitably have Europe-wide implications. In about half of European countries, many polling places are inaccessible. Either the Court will enable reforms that will improve lives of millions, or it will let the discrimination continue," says Jurij Toplak, a law professor at the Alma Mater Europaea University, Slovenia, and visiting professor at Fordham Law School in New York, who represented the applicants.

 The case is called Toplak and Mrak v. Slovenia.

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