Switzerland - Article 29
1.THE RIGHT TO VOTE AND BE ELECTED.
- Do visually impaired (hereafter VI) people suffer any restrictions to their rights to vote and/or to be elected? If yes, give details.
Person under guardianship have no rights to vote and/or be elected. Mostly persons with mental disabilities or impairments are excluded. In general visually impaired people suffer no direct restrictions to their rights to vote and/or be elected.
- During election campaigns what measures are taken to ensure that VI people are ensured full autonomy concerning the availability of information distributed by candidates, access to pre-electoral meetings, access to different campaign media?
The voting and election documents are also available in audio book version (DAISY format). These audio books can be requested for federal, the most cantonal and a few communal votes and elections. The Swiss Library for people with visual impairments produces these audio versions of voting and election documents.
- Are special measures put in place to ensure that polling stations are accessible to VI people?
Persons with disabilities (or diseases) in an institutional context have the possibility that the polling box comes to them. There exist personal assistants or representatives, who can go to the polling stations instead of the person with a disability.
Also possible is the written voting by post mail before the official voting weekend. In future electronic voting will be a different option. First tests of e-voting are current.
- Within polling stations, what measures are taken to ensure that VI people can exercise their rights in an autonomous and confidential manner?
People with visual impairments or people, who for some other reason are unable to complete their ballot papers on their own, can be assisted by a representative. This representative can either be nominated by the person themselves or be made available at the polling station in the commune.
- In the case of proportional elections (by lists of candidates), what measures are taken to ensure that VI people can exercise their rights in an autonomous and confidential manner?
See answer to 1.4.
- Are their measures in place to assist VI people in the polling booths and when casting their vote in the urns?
See answer to 1.4.
- Are voting machines in place in your country? If yes, please detail how these are made accessible to VI people.
2. PARTICIPATION IN NON-GOVERNMENTAL ORGANISATIONS AND ASSOCIATIONS CONCERNED WITH THE PUBLIC AND POLITICAL LIFE OF THE COUNTRY, AND IN THE ACTIVITIES AND ADMINISTRATION OF POLITICAL PARTIES.
- Can VI people in your country participate in an unrestricted manner in political parties, unions, public and political organisations and associations?
In general people with visual impairments can participate in political parties, unions, public and political organisations and associations.
- Are their VI people in who have been elected to political, trade-union or associative office in your country?
Yes. Especially Manuele Bertoli has to be mentioned. He got elected last year for a seat in the cantonal parliament of Ticino.
- Do VI people in your country have unrestricted access to administrative office, including at top-level?
In general yes.
3. FORMING AND JOINING ORGANISATIONS OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES.
- Please give an overview of the number/type of associations or organisations representing VI people in your country.
Two national self-help associations for visually impaired people can be mentioned (SBV, SBb). There's a national umbrella organisation of all institutions and bodies, which act for people with a visual impairment (SZB).
In addition there are other regional important self-help associations and organisations for specific aspects as deafblindness (Tactile, GERSAM) or pigmentary retinopathy (Retina Suisse).
A list of organisations, which act for people with a visual impairment is here:
- What is the role played by these associations in representing VI people?
SBV, SBb und SZB especially represent the interests of visual impaired people in Switzerland. Jointly they act for equality on national, regional and local level. That occurs in the legalisation and standardisation in different topics (public transport, construction, education etc.), in contact with authorities and other organisations (lobbying and networking) as in public (sensibilising).
- How are VI people included in associations representing them?
Members of these associations and organisations can take part in decision making. Furthermore many visual impaired people work as professionals in these associations.