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Oct 5, 2020

A National Voting Exercise amid These COVID Times

Josephine Tamai

The General Elections, come November eleventh, will be governed by a set of regulations that will ensure that social distancing, as well as sanitization, is maintained.  While it will mean that voters may remain in lines longer, the process, according to the Chief Elections Officer, must comply with measures that are currently in place to fight the spread of the pandemic.  It is a historic first, but Josephine Tamai says her office is prepared for the countrywide undertaking.


Josephine Tamai, Chief Elections Officer

“We know that with the COVID-19 and this pandemic it‘s been a challenge for everybody, so one of our main objectives is to ensure that while people go to the polls to cast their vote they are safe.  And so one of the measures that we have implemented are those the Ministry of Health has in place for COVID-19.  So that requires that, one: persons have to use their masks, as a matter of fact we know that that is the law as it presently stands.  The issue of social distancing, the six feet social distancing, will also be adhered to.  It is mandatory, sanitizing of hands will also be enforced.  It is not law that people sanitize, but we know that the Ministry of Health has been asking persons to ensure that they either wash their hands or sanitize.  Once those measures are in place, we know that it‘s basically safe.  We know that in regards to the large crowds that an election would draw, those are areas where our efforts are being diverted into ensuring that the polling stations have a limited number of persons.  So what we are trying to do, in some areas for example, in Belmopan and San Pedro you know that those persons would normally have one location in terms of persons going to vote at a specific area.  So this time around, and for other areas as well, we‘re trying to have polling stations across the country.  We‘re trying to limit the number of persons assigned to each polling station.  We know that additional measures that are being put in place, it will take a little longer in terms of persons casting their ballots and the aim is not to have persons waiting for a very long time.  So if we reduce the numbers in the polling station then persons will not have as long to wait in those lines.”

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