The district administrations were making arrangements for the COVID-19 patients exercise their franchise in the upcoming elections to the gram panchayats, visiting the respective polling booths, with the State Election Commission permitting them to vote between 4 p.m. and 5 p.m. on the polling day.
In the light of SEC’s directive, the administrations in the districts are preparing the guidelines for their voting and communicated to the health authorities the steps to be taken by them in this regard. Also, the patients with voting rights are being identified and informed about the provision made for their voting in the GP polls. If they wish to vote, arrangements for the same would be made, they were told.
The COVID-19 patients in hospitals, home isolation and COVID-19 care centres can exercise their franchise, and they are supposed to inform the PDOs of the respective GPs expressing their wish to vote.
In Kodagu, the patients had been told to inform the PDOs who will in turn inform the health authorities for the arrangements – bringing them to the polling booths in ambulances for voting and other measures. The responsibility of bringing the patients to the booth taking all safety precautions (patients should be wearing PPE kits) lies with the Health Department. They can vote wearing gloves and discard them after casting their vote. The entire polling booth would be sanitised after the patient casts his or her vote, said Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy.
Though the COVID-19 cases are falling, the public, officials and the staff had been told to take utmost precautions on the day of polling. Mandatory face covers, social distancing and use of sanitizers are a must in the elections.