Home affairs minister Toranosuke Katayama pledged Friday to rectify an unconstitutional situation in which votes cast in elections on behalf of disabled people who are unable to write or go to the polls are not accepted.
“We will have to give them chances to vote. It is a matter of course that we will have to end a situation deemed unconstitutional,” Katayama told reporters, referring to a Thursday court ruling that the government’s refusal to allow mail-in votes cast on behalf of disabled people is unconstitutional.
“I cannot immediately spell out what concrete measures could be taken, other than having election administrators ask them for whom they wish to vote, but we will study the matter,” said the minister of public management, home affairs, posts and telecommunications.
The Tokyo District Court ruled Thursday that the government’s refusal to accept mail-in votes written on behalf of physically disabled patients who are unable to write violates their voting rights and is unconstitutional.
The court, however, rejected a claim for 2.7 million yen in damages from the state sought by the three plaintiffs who brought the litigation.
The Public Offices Election Law accepts votes mailed in by people with severe physical disabilities but requires that the voters themselves write the name of the candidate on the ballot.
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