ELECTIONS and Boundaries Commission (EBC) chairman Mark Ramkerrysingh says it is safe to go out and vote in the general election on Monday. He said the commission has taken “extraordinary steps” to ensure a safe environment.
“We have complied with all public health protocols in arranging the booth. While you do not have to wear a mask to vote, we are urging that you do so. When you come to the station, please practise physical distancing. On entering the station, ensure you are sanitised. Before dipping your finger in the ink, again ensure you are sanitised. Once you do your part and we have done our part, this will be a safe and seamless process.”
Speaking in an address to the nation on Sunday, he said the EBC set up 2,200 polling stations and hired over 13,000 people, all with a view to ensuring the process passes off seamlessly.
“We have a long and proud history of doing so and tomorrow will be no different. We have consulted with a number of countries and international organisations with a view to ensuring the election process is as simple as possible and yet complies with all possible health guidelines.”
Ramkerrysingh also asked those who were more vulnerable to the covid19 virus to notify the presiding officer at the polling station. He said arrangements would be made for those people to vote.
Ramkerrysingh advised voters to go out and vote early. He reminded them that once they were in the line and within the limits of a polling station, they were still entitled to vote. He cautioned voters to check their polling cards to verify where they had been assigned to vote, as this may have changed since the last general election.
“We have had to change polling stations to allow for better physical distancing. Because of that, where you voted in the last election may not be where you vote in this election. If you did not receive a poll card, you can check online or you can check one of the EBC hotline numbers.”
He reminded people that all politicking must end at midnight on Sunday. “On Monday, no person should, within any polling place and within 100 yards of a polling place, carry out any activity that could dissuade an elector from casting his ballot, or campaign in that area.
“Election campaigns are intense times and there is always the tendency or the temptation for candidates, activists or even well-wishers to sometimes push the boundaries in terms of actions on poll day. I urge you all, please don’t do so. Please follow the instructions of the polling officer and the police officers who are on duty at each station. Once you do so, this process will be a very quick process and one with no undue incidents.”
Ramkerrysingh ended with a message:”To our EBC staff, carry out your duties fearlessly and impartially, with integrity. To the candidates, we wish you all the best and finally, to you the voters, we say, ‘go out and vote, it is your right, and it is safe to do so.’”
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