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Vote denied: No wheelchair access, and no one helped

Trinidad Express / A wheelchair-bound man missed out on voting in Monday’s Local Government elections as his polling station was not wheelchair accessible and he claimed that no attempts were made to assist him.

Brian Pouchet, a victim of multiple sclerosis, said he felt disempowered and disenchanted after leaving the San Fernando Central Secondary School without having stamped his ballot paper. He lives in the electoral district of Les Efforts West/La Romaine.

Pouchet, 54, has reported the incident to the Elections and Boundaries Commission (EBC) returning officer. And he has demanded an investigation into why he was denied his right to vote.

He said, “I use an electric wheelchair and when I arrived there it was impossible for me to get into the polling station. The clerk told me if I want to vote I should go and get some men to lift me up and take me inside. I was unable to do that and had to leave the polling station without voting.”

Pouchet, of Coconut Drive, San Fernando, said he was later informed that he was classified as a special voter.

“I voted in last year’s general election at the same location. However the polling station was in a different place and I was able to get in. This has me very angry because I cannot vote for my candidate,” he said.

An official at the EBC said he was not aware of the incident. However, he promised to “look into the matter”.

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