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At 6 a.m. on the day of the 2023 local elections in Guyana, Holly observed election workers opening what would be the first of over a dozen polling stations she would go to throughout the day. Clipboard in hand, she noted obstacles for persons with disabilities that have become all too normal for her as a wheelchair user on election day.   

Holly observed the elections with 41 other persons with disabilities as part of the Guyana Council of Organizations for Persons with Disabilities’ (GCOPD) observation mission. They published a report of their findings in October. 

Covered by multiple media outlets, the data reveals that of the 55 percent of polling stations and 80 percent of registration sites with stairs, only 12.3 percent and 28 percent, respectively, were equipped with ramps. 

Find out more about the observation mission and report. 

At our Charles T. Manatt Democracy Awards Dinner on Oct. 17, Ganesh Singh, the director of GCOPD, spoke about the impact of our honoree and disability rights leader Judy Heumann. Abia Akram, the founder of the National Forum of Women with Disabilities in Pakistan, and Yuliia Sachuk, co-founder and president of Fight for Right in Ukraine, joined him on stage.  

Watch the video of the dinner here, with a performance from singer-songwriter Lachi. 

In Ukraine, a young woman, Anastasiia Rudyk, is also using her voice to advocate for inclusive elections. Participating in an internship with the Central Election Commission, she created educational materials about the electoral process in Ukraine. 

“Now, it is important for me to accumulate more knowledge about inclusion in our country, since I realize that more people will become disabled as adults due to the war,” she said.  

NEW: IFES recently launched a learning series on disability-inclusive technology, providing election management bodies and civil society with guidelines and recommendations to ensure the technology they use and develop is fully accessible for persons with disabilities. 

Check it out here. 


“The stakes could not be higher for getting postwar elections right in Ukraine. A failed election can jeopardize all other areas of reform, from combating corruption to advancing the rule of law and beyond.” 

Peter Erben, senior country director for IFES Ukraine, and Gio Kobakhidze, deputy country director for IFES Ukraine, write about the importance of advancing historic electoral reforms that were halted because of the war. 

Read it here. 

Peter, alongside Ukrainian democracy champion Olga Aivazovska, recently spoke about the challenges that Ukraine would face in holding elections during the war and argued that reforms are necessary for resilient postwar elections.  

Check out the full event at the United States Institute of Peace. 

Even in the face of war, our IFES Ukraine staff and partners stand up for democratic values. Learn about their work in our new video


ElectionGuide is the most comprehensive and timely source of verified election information available online. We recently released the second version of its API and Codebook, expanding its dataset even further. Get access to the most comprehensive election data at ElectionGuide.org and request expanded access for free here


The Voice is a monthly newsletter from the International Foundation for Electoral Systems (IFES) that keeps you informed about elections worldwide and how IFES is advancing democracy for a better future. Get this newsletter sent directly to your inbox by subscribing here

To stay up to date with the latest news and blog posts from IFES, visit ifes.org. To keep track of upcoming elections, visit IFES’s electionguide.org


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