No alternative means of voting for COVID patients

September 18, 2021 Lee Ann P. Ducusin 263 views

THE Commission on Elections (Comelec) yesterday clarified that allowing COVID-19 patients to vote in person in Eleksyon 2022 was never really under consideration.

Comelec spokesperson James Jimenez issued the clarification as he disclosed that the poll body is not inclined to provide alternative means of voting for COVID-19 patients.

The clarification came after Health Undersecretary Maria Rosario Vergeire warned against allowing COVID-19 patients to vote in person in the upcoming polls, citing the risk of further transmission of the coronavirus.

Jimenez assured that the poll body is fully cognizant of the risks, both to the patient and the public, associated with making a COVID-19 positive person go out to vote.

“This being so, the idea of requiring such persons to leave their isolation facilities was never really on the table,” he added.

The Comelec official also explained that providing other means of voting for COVID-19 patients, who should stay in the quarantine facilities, are not covered by the law.

“As to the possibility of alternative means of voting, unfortunately these are not authorized by law and will not be employed on 9 May 2022,” he said.

Jimenez said Vergeire’s concern might have arisen from Comelec’s previous statements about the isolation polling places (IPPs).

He explained that these IPPs are intended only for individuals exhibiting COVID-19 symptoms, adding that such IPPs are intended to serve persons who present symptoms upon their arrival at the voting centers on election day.

“While these persons may indeed turn out to be COVID positive, they will not be turned away automatically just because they are suspected to be potential cases. Instead, they will be directed to IPPs where they can vote away from the general public, with all the necessary precautions appropriate to their health condition,” Jimenez said.