Are you a voter eligible to cast your vote in Tamil Nadu elections on Tuesday but have COVID-19? You can still exercise your franchise despite testing positive for the novel coronavirus. The Election Commission of India (ECI) has made specific arrangements to enable COVID-19 patients to reach the polling booth and cast their votes.
In Tamil Nadu, voters who are in isolation due to COVID-19 can go to the polling booth between 6pm and 7 pm on Tuesday to cast their votes. The ECI had announced that the polling time will be extended by one hour across the state to facilitate anybody who has COVID-19 to vote. PPE kits and disinfectants have been provided to the polling officers at the polling stations. Those who have COVID-19 and the polling officers will have to wear PPEs when the person votes.
District Election Officers (DEOs) have also trained the staff on election duty on how to handle the situation on the ground, when a COVID-19 patient expresses their interest to vote.The ECI has also given specific instructions to the DEOs to train the staff on the disposal of biomedical waste from the booths including used masks, face shields, PPE kits etc.
Masks and physical distancing will be mandatory during polling. In addition to this, temperature checks will be carried out during the day. Anyone who has a fever will be asked to come between 6pm and 7pm to vote, reports DT Next.
While the ECI has stepped in to make the voting process smooth for those who are infected with coronavirus, officials on the ground have expressed concern about how things will unfold in reality. Highlighting that those with COVID-19 might not really be willing to break the isolation and put others at risk, the officers said that the ECI has conveyed that it wants everyone to vote and made arrangements in case COVID-19 patients want to exercise their right to vote.
Tamil Nadu goes to polls on April 6, Tuesday in a single phase. Over 6.28 crore voters will be voting at over 88,000 polling stations across the state. Counting takes place on May 2.