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Ghana - 2000 - General Elections - Electoral Inclusion

The 2000 elections in Ghana were the first time that citizens with disabilities were organized to monitor their own nation’s elections. At that time, people with disabilities were often invisible to electoral processes in many parts of the world, particularly in lower-and middle-income nations. The UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities would not be ratified until 2007. The effort in Ghana led to strengthened relations between the Ghana Electoral Commission and Ghana’s disability community, and over time has been followed by election monitoring in dozens of other nations. 

At that time, Jerry Mindes served as the Disability Rights Advisor to the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES), which had funding from Finland and Sweden to advance election access for people with disabilities. Ghana was selected because of the election calendar and because it has a well-organized disability rights community. IFES worked with the Ghana Federation of the Disabled (now known as GFD), and the Ghana office of the UK charity Action on Disability and Development. Seventy-seven adults with disabilities were trained and deployed to serve as election observers. Their findings were shared with the elections commission. 

In the recording above, you can hear Jerry himself speak about his experience of observing the election for the National Democratic Institute for International Affairs (NDI).

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