Information and materials about voting should be available in minority languages.
- Freedom of expression, assembly and association are essential conditions for the effective exercise of the right to vote and must be fully protected. Positive measures should be taken to overcome specific difficulties, such as illiteracy, language barriers, poverty or impediments to freedom of movement which prevent persons entitled to vote from exercising their rights effectively. Information and materials about voting should be available in minority languages. Specific methods, such as photographs and symbols, should be adopted to ensure that illiterate voters have adequate information on which to base their choice. States parties should indicate in their reports the manner in which the difficulties highlighted in this paragraph are dealt with.
- States should make particular efforts, taking advantage of technological developments, to ensure that the broadest possible diversity of media content, including general interest content, is accessible to all groups in society, particularly those which may have specific needs or face disadvantage or obstacles when accessing media content, such as minority groups, refugees, children, the elderly and persons with cognitive or physical disabilities. This implies that such media content should be made available in different languages and in suitable formats and that it should be easy to find and use.
- Literature should be widely available and should be published in the various national languages to help ensure the meaningful participation of all eligible voters.
- For instance, participating States could consider facilitating the efforts of citizens belonging to national minorities to exercise their right to vote by introducing targeted measures to overcome specific difficulties, such as language barriers, including by providing readily accessible information and materials about voting in minority languages in areas inhabited by minorities.
- Measures to help promote adequate national minority representation might include reserving a set number of parliamentary seats for specific minorities, waiving the threshold for the number of votes received so that parties representing national minorities may be represented in parliament and the provision of electoral material, including ballot papers, as well as voter education and campaign materials in minority languages.
- Monitoring voter education and public-information campaigns will also provide useful knowledge about the level of information that is made available to national minorities, whether this information is provided in minority languages, and whether it includes any element of bias.
- The public authorities have a number of positive obligations; inter alia, they must: i. submit the candidatures received to the electorate ii. enable voters to know the lists and candidates standing for election, for example through appropriate posting. iii. The above information must also be available in the languages of the national minorities.