Archbishop Hugo Barrantes Ureña of San Jose, Costa Rica, has asked the country’s Supreme Court to issue a ruling in favor of the Foundation for the Progress of Blind Persons, in order to protect the secrecy of votes cast by the visually impaired at election time.
The archbishop pointed out that not ensuring an anonymous and secret vote by the blind is damaging “to the rights of all people in general.” He explained that “not all people suffering from visual impairment are lucky enough to have someone trustworthy at their side at the voting booth.”
“The secret vote is a democratic right,” the archbishop continued, noting that it is protected in Costa Rica’s constitution and mentioned in international law regarding human rights.
Therefore he is calling on the Supreme Court to guarantee that all citizens without exception are able to cast their votes in secrecy. Recourse to modern technology and scientific advances should make it easy to guarantee such a right, he added.
“A situation such as this should be amended without delay,” Archbishop Barrantes warned, because its persistence means the right to vote as such is vulnerable, and it constitutes an attack on “the free expression of the will of the voters,” thus weakening the democratic system.