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Coronavirus: Measures in place to ensure safe voting

elections

The central elections service said on Thursday that the parliamentary elections on May 30 will adhere to a number of measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus and ensure the safety of voters.

Spokesman Ioannis Moeseos told the Cyprus Mail that all polling stations will be modified in line with the demands of the pandemic, while staff and police will be on guard to ensure measures are followed.

Hand sanitiser will be widely available at all polling stations, with disinfected pens and ballot covers that eliminate excessive touching offered to voters.

In addition, all areas where voters might interact with staff will be fitted with Plexiglas, while masks will be required at all times.

On the subject of masks, Moeseos said that they should not pose a problem in identifying voters through their passport or government ID. “If they are registered voters then they’ll be on the system.”

At the same time, he said, “elections officers will be able to tell if, let’s say, an 18-year-old is voting using a 65-year-old’s card, so masks are not that big of an obstacle.”

While party representatives, staff and police officers working at polling stations will need a SafePass or rapid test to work on the day, Moeseos emphasised that voters will be exempt from this requirement.

Lastly, mobile polling stations will be made available for those self-isolating as positive cases of coronavirus on the day of the elections.

On Wednesday, chief returning officer Costas Constantinou briefed representatives of electoral alliances, parties and independent candidates on the election procedure and how it will be modified for the pandemic, also outlining vote counting and sorting and explaining what would invalidate a ballot.

It was also pointed out that attendees at campaign events must be able to show a SafePass, wear masks and observe social distancing and hand hygiene, while events must be seated and well ventilated. Offering refreshments will be prohibited.

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