Disability Discrimination Japan

After challenge by man with cerebral palsy, Osaka High Court rules Public Offices Election Act limiting number of assistants to “those who work at polling stations” constitutional

Yasuhiro Nakata, a man who was born with cerebral palsy claimed that the Public Election Law's provision limiting the number of assistants to "those who work at polling stations" violates the Constitution because it does not protect the secrecy of the vote. The court rejected the man's appeal.

By Barrier Free Japan with extracts from Kyodo via Yahoo! Japan

August 31 2021

OSAKA – Yasuhiro Nakata, a man who was born with cerebral palsy, claimed that the Public Offices Election Act’s provision limiting the number of assistants to “those who work at polling stations” violates the Constitution because it does not protect the secrecy of the vote. His appeal was rejected by the Osaka High Court on August 30th.

Specifically, the argument made was that the provisions of the Public Offices Election Act, which limits the assistants for people with disabilities to vote in elections to “people engaged in polling place affairs,” means that the ballot could not be cast in secret by voters who have disabilities, as it is for those voters who do not have disabilities.

The court rejected the man’s appeal. The court ruled that the provision was constitutional.

Yasuhiro Nakata, the plaintiff in the case, holds a press conference after the verdict in Osaka City on the morning of August 30 2021 (Kyodo)

Yasuhiro Nakata, 49, of Toyonaka City, Osaka Prefecture and the plaintiff in the case, held a press conference after the verdict on the morning of August 30 in Osaka City:

“I am very disappointed and frustrated. I think the realization of equal voting for people with disabilities is still far away,” he said, indicating that he would appeal the decision.

Chief Judge Chiichiro Nishikawa ruled, “From the standpoint of ensuring the fairness of elections, it is unavoidable and permissible under the Constitution.

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