Comelec looks for other ways for Covid-19 patients to vote


Noting how the forthcoming elections in May 2022 could possibly become super spreader events in its conduct in different polling centers across the country, the Department of Health (DoH) is urging the Commission on Elections (Comelec) to find alternative ways on how Covid-19 patients would be able to safely cast their votes without infecting others or transmitting the disease.


MANILA — Following a statement from Comelec that they will be providing special polling areas for Covid-positive voters, health undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire reiterated an earlier announcement that Covid-19 patients will not be allowed to leave isolation to vote in the upcoming elections because this might lead to increasing the risk of virus transmission to other voters.

In response to the suggestion, Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez gave assurances that the matter will be discussed thoroughly by the Comelec in order to come up with a voting system that with give ample protection for all voters from infection or transmission of the deadly disease.

“Since there are currently no guidelines allowing patients to vote in polling centers, it would be a challenge to find alternative methods for Covid-19 patients to vote, however, the Comelec en banc will have to discuss the process on how it can be done,” Jimenez stated.

Previously, the DOH strongly disagreed with the initial plan by Comelec on designated areas in polling precincts that Ms Vergeire came up with other alternative means.

“We also need to look into alternative ways for the Covid-19 positive voters in this election. We do know that positive patients, once they leave their room or an area, can infect others,” Vergeire pointed out.

She suggested that instead of allowing those with Covid-19 to physically vote in designated isolation areas in polling precincts, the Comelec should rather implement digital or online voting for them.

“I hope Comelec will have an alternative way of having these elections for Covid-19 positive patients. Maybe it can be done virtually, digital through SMS if such a process can be done because the DOH will not recommend for Covid-19 patients to leave the isolation area to do this kind of activity,” she added. (TRC/Headline PH)


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